Saturday, May 28, 2016

Freddie Steele, Boxer & Film Actor

1912 - 1984

Middleweight Champion 1936 - 1938, he started in motion pictures as a body double in fight films.  Some of those lower body shots supposedly of Errol Flynn actually showed Steele’s great footwork.  He had major supporting roles in films in which he virtually stole the show from the likes of Robert Mitchum.  Judging by one of her critiques, it’s safe to say that Pauline Kael had a major crush on him and I don’t blame her.

Hail the Conquering Hero, Preston Sturges 1944


The majority of Steele’s film work was in uncredited roles, either in body double work or as anonymous members of crowds, but when called upon by shrewd directors to perform individually he greatly rewarded their trust.  His character in Hail the Conquering Hero, the motherless mother lover, is the one who sets the story in motion by calling the hero’s mother to tell her he’s coming home.  When asked if he’s crazy, he calmly replies maybe.  In GI Joe he goes berserk while listening to a phonograph recorded greeting from his infant son back home and has to be subdued by his platoon.

Story of GI Joe, William Wellman 1945

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