Monday, August 13, 2012

Director Andrew Gallimore on The Gentleman Prizefighter

"You should create living people, not characters" - Director Andrew Gallimore writes in his blog on The Gentleman Prizefighter, screening as part of IFI Stranger Than Fiction, Dublin's Documentary Film Festival. 

It begins with an obituary. Twenties sports scribe Bill McGeehan had nailed the story in a few lines of text:

“With the death of James J Corbett another figure from the romantic era of the American prize ring passes into the twilight of the modern demigods. In the romantic days of the prize ring there was little in the game except romance. But the demigods of the game lived on romance. Corbett made the greatest of ring dramas.”  

So it’s the life and times of a modern demigod in seventy minutes or so. The film makes no pretence at biography, more a sweep through the many lives of the elusive and contradictory Jim Corbett. Like Hemingway said, you should create living people, not characters. A character is a caricature and Corbett’s an easy man to caricature. ‘Gentleman Jim’ was his creation. Fact and fiction were often blurred and maybe to understand Corbett you have to multiply the puzzles and paradoxes rather than solve them. 

All the key ingredients were in place. Newly discovered archive, scenes from long lost movies, photographs aplenty, sports, sex and scandal. Now if only we could get someone who can deliver a line and a straight left to narrate, maybe someone who’s also really, really famous.

Andrew Gallimore

The Gentleman Prizefighter screens on Saturday, August 18th at 13.20, with Director Andrew Gallimore in attendance, as part of IFI Stranger Than Fiction, Dublin’s Documentary Film Festival (August 16th – 19th). 
For more information and bookings, visit, or call on 01 679 3477. 

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