Told mainly in flashback,the star of this film is a character actor called Wally Cassell who plays a disabled boxing trainer who sees ex-jail bird William Bishop as the fighter he can make a champion.
Sheldon Leonard,in one of his few sympathetic roles,plays Wally’s brother who looks out for him and tries to make Wally’s life as good as he can.
Anne Gwynne has little to do although she has an interesting role, as Sheldon’s girlfriend who makes it clear she still cares for a boxer who had one fight too many and barely recognises her.
William Bishop and Ann Richards are the nominal stars but BreakDown belongs to Cassell and Leonard.Cassell in particular impresses as the physically and mentally damaged man who sees in Bishop his means of redemption.
It’s not clear if Sheldon Leonard in some way feels responsible for his brother’s condition (the Cassell character has an arm he can hardly use and a deformed back), he certainly goes out of his way to do anything for Cassell.
A little sleeper which has a lot going for it. I only know Wally Cassell from his fine performance as the ‘Mechanical Man’ in The City That Never Sleeps.
It’s a good print from VCI. And nice to see BESS FLOWERS with a couple of lines of dialogue!