Day 25 of Noirvember: Quinn in Body and Soul (1947)

Today’s Noirvember post shines the spotlight on Quinn in Body and Soul (1947).

Quinn. Sleazy as they come.


Body and Soul centers on Charley Davis (John Garfield), who is determined to earn money for his family through the professional boxing game. He eventually works his way to the top, but at a price – he’s forced to turn over a large percentage of his earnings to Roberts (Lloyd Gough), a local gangster; his relationship with his longtime girlfriend (Lili Palmer) is threatened when he has an affair with a nightclub singer; and he’s ultimately betrayed by his cigar-chomping manager, Quinn (William Conrad), who makes a deal with a promoter for Charley to take a dive in his title fight.


Quinn and his girl (at least, until she met Charley . . .)

We first see Quinn in Charley’s training room before the title fight, along with Roberts – they’re both there to ensure that Charley understands his marching orders to throw the upcoming fight. Quinn doesn’t speak, though. After Roberts leaves the room, Quinn takes a step toward Charley, who gives him a single directive, dripping with contempt: “Get outta here.”

As Charley lies alone in the room, waiting to enter the boxing ring, we’re treated to a flashback that shows us how he got to be where he is, including his introduction to Quinn years before. Quinn was a promoter then, and Charley had just scored a knockout in his first big match as an amateur. One of his friends approaches Quinn, trying to get him to set up some fights for Charley and raving about his abilities. “So what,” Quinn responds. “Kids win this and that every day. Thousands of ‘em. One out of a hundred fights professionally, one out of a thousand’s worth watching. One out of a million’s worth coffee and doughnuts. Tell your boy to get an honest job.”


He’s a sleazeball from way back. A big fish in a little pond, but just another crooked sycophant when all is said and done. He’s self-absorbed and shrewd, signing on as Charley’s manager when he realizes that he’s got talent, but throwing him to the wolves when something better comes along. A real prize, this guy.


“From me to you, a word of advice. People shouldn’t be too ambitious at first. You drive too fast, you’ll break your neck.”


Conrad was born William Cann in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 27, 1920. The son of a theater owner, he once said that a career in the entertainment field was practically inevitable. When he was seven years old, his family moved to Los Angeles, and after high school, he enrolled as a literature and drama major at Fullerton Junior College. It was there that he got his first taste of performing, landing a job at a local radio station. Changing his last name to Conrad, he was heard on numerous radio broadcasts, but hkis budding career on the radio was interrupted by World War II, where he served as a fighter pilot. After his released from service, he was seen in an uncredited role as a motorcycle cop in Pillow to Post (1945), starring Ida Lupino. The following year, he stepped into the world of noir with The Killers (1946).

Join me in the shadows tomorrow for Day 26 of Noirvember!

~ by shadowsandsatin on November 25, 2021.

4 Responses to “Day 25 of Noirvember: Quinn in Body and Soul (1947)”

  1. I just wanted to say a huge “Thank you” for the Noirvember feature. For once in my life I don’t want November to be over. I hope it never ends but also appreciate the amount of thought and work that has gone into creating a new feature every say.

    If Noirvember has to end, I would like to be cheeky and ask if there’s any chance of another theme next month? I’d love to read a “Deathcember” feature on characters who die in movies? Start with “The Swede” in the Killers, perhaps?

    Sorry, just dreaming and look forward to the rest of Noirvember. Its been brilliant all month. Congratulations.

    • Thank you so much, Andrew! You totally made my day with your comments! It’s always a challenge to write every day, but I love it and I feel so compelled to do it! Funny how that works. I love the Deathcember idea! I might not be able to pull it together to do something every day, but surely at least one post! Thank you again for your kind words — I treasure them.

  2. Conrad! What a fascinating and creative career.

    The “fates” seemed to have a thing for Garfield, didn’t they?

    • I love William Conrad’s career — The Killers, Gunsmoke, and Rocky and Bullwinkle! Who does that? And you’re so right about Garfield — he was getting the business left and right!

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