Jack Dempsey & Georges Carpentier - Training Footage 1921 Part 1 of 2





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Published on Apr 28, 2011

Training and Promotional Footage 1921
French Pathe News, Silent, Part One of Two

The Fight
Jack Dempsey was exactly two years into his reign as heavyweight champion in 1921 when he faced the glamorous French hero and boxing champion Georges Carpentier. The fight was a landmark in sports promotion, attracting world wide interest, and became the first sporting event to earn over one million dollars in live ticket sales. On the flip side of the coin the successful promotion also set the standard for over-hype and spin that continues in sports through this day. Carpentier was not a serious challenge to the champion. Carpentier was much smaller than advertised and never had a chance. Nevertheless, the fight went four action packed rounds for the 91,000 patrons, and the 200,000 to 5000,00 listening to the first fight broadcast on radio.

The Film
There was no "ESPN 24/7" in 1921, but this film gives us some great behind the scenes footage. Newsreels were in full swing, including the omnipresent French Pathe, who produced this prefight film of Dempsey and Carpentier training for the fight. Promotional films like this one are rare, as they are usually discarded after the fight takes place. Historical emphasis has been to preserve films of the fight, but in retrospect, the prefight, training, and press conferences (by the 1930s) give us valuable information about the boxers, their personalities and their working conditions.

The Restoration
The footage is clear, and like many French and British Pathe films, it's been well preserved. I did adjust the contrast, and the film speed, bringing it down about 30%. The speed is more of an estimating since the footage was shot by multiple cameras.

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