RING OF PASSION (TV) (1978 USA)
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Directed by Robert Michael Lewis
Starring: Bernie Casey, Stephen Macht, Allen Garfield
Genres: Based On True Story, Drama, Period Pieces, Sports
97 minutes | Full screen | Color | English
Ring of Passion is a self-described "docudrama" of the professional rivalry between African-American boxing great Joe Louis and German fistic champ Max Schmeling. On June 19, 1936, Schmeling (Stephen Macht) beats Louis (Bernie Casey) for the European championship. Germany's Nazi government uses this bout to trumpet the superiority of the Aryans over the "inferior" races. But in the return match of 1938, described by such sports scriveners as Damon Runyon (Allen Garfield) and Paul Gallico (Joe Campanella) as the "Fight of the Century," Joe Louis defeats Max Schmeling in one round. This TV movie takes great pains to convince us that, while Schmeling was in effect fighting for political reasons, he himself was not a Nazi (we are told that the public slurs against Louis attributed to Schmeling are the handiwork of Joseph Goebbels' propaganda machine).