Max Baer and the "Cinderella Man" Movie

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Reaction to the Cinderella Man movie

The movie Cinderella Man achieved some critical success, with Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle saying of Ron Howard on June 3, 2005 that "He has made what is easily the best American film so far this year."

At the box office, it didn't fare so well. Some blame it being released at the wrong time, up against the summer blockbusters. Or that it came too soon after another boxing movie, Million Dollar Baby. Others say that the incident where actor Russell Crowe, who played Jimmie Braddock, threw a phone at a hotel employee in New York City gave it negative publicity.

Note that the movie was not based on the book, Cinderella Man : James Braddock, Max Baer, and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History by Jeremy Schaap. This book came out only a month before the movie and is a more factual treatment of the lives of both boxers Braddock and Baer. You may want to invest in one of the many other Cinderella Man books.

Director Ron Howard

In the director's commentary on the DVD for the movie, Ron Howard states that his father used Jimmie Braddock's refusal to stay away from Max Baer in the 15th round when he had already won the fight, as a morality tale for his children.

Script writer Akiva Goldsman

Akiva Goldsman, the writer of the script says that it may have been somewhat unfair to portray Baer as the villain of the piece. However, he also says, "This is true. Max Baer killed two men in the ring." Sorry Mr Goldsman, it is not true. One man did die directly from a blow of Baer's in the ring and another died several fights after meeting Baer. But boxing is a dangerous sport, and there is much evidence that for Baer, the death of Frankie Campbell in particular was quite a burden to bear.

Notwithstanding the inaccuracy with which Baer's character has been treated in the movie, it is a very fine movie as entertainment and you would enjoy a rental or purchase of Cinderella Man on VHS or DVD. Craig Bierko puts in a menacing and charismatic performance as Baer.

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