Lash Of The Penitentes, The

1232. THE CONTENDER (1944-USA). With BUSTER CRABBE, ARLINE JUDGE. Directed by SAM NEWFIELD. Buster Crabbe, Olympic Gold Medal swimmer and star of numerous 1930s and 40s action- adventures and serials, offers a solid, impressive performance in this entertaining boxing yarn. He’s cast as Gary Farrel, widowed truck driver who wishes to give his young son Mickey all the breaks he’s never had. Gary has enrolled the boy in a military academy, but on his workingman’s salary has to struggle to keep up tuition payments. Desperate for money, he enters a boxing tournament-and quickly proves to have dynamite in his fists. A brilliant future is predicted for Farrel, but with success comes a new set of problems. The least of them is learning to adapt to a rigid training schedule; unfortunately, our boy is just innocent enough to fall hard for a sexy, self-centered gold-digger. She schemes to claw her way into his life, and help him throw away his money. Farrel also is attracted to a woman reporter, who is loyal and loving-and would make a perfect stepmother for Mickey. Will she be able to knock some sense into his rapidly swelling head, before his life and career are destroyed? Veteran director Sam Newfield stages the film’s many boxing sequences most impressively, with overhead camera shots adding to their effectiveÂness. 65 minutes. Drama