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The Leather Saint

The Leather Saint(1956)

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Remind Me

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At the Grand Avenue Gymnasium in Los Angeles, Father Gil Allen, an Episcopalian minister, practices his pugilistic skills under the watchful eyes of fight manager Gus McCullough. After the minister accidentally knocks down Tiger, Gus's new heavyweight boxer, the fight manager offers Father Gil his services, unaware of the minister's true calling. Later, Father Gil has an audience with his supervisor, Bishop Haette, who questions why the young minister has not married. Father Gil tells the bishop that he has taken a vow of celibacy, in order to make a total commitment to improving the plight of the poor Mexican American children of his Santa Marta parish. Along with his fellow minister, Father Ritchie, Father Gil makes his daily visit to his neighborhood's children's hospital, which is overrun with young victims of a polio epidemic. The attending physician tells Father Gil that money is desperately needed to buy rehabilitation equipment, such as a heated swimming pool, in order to save the young patients from a life-time of paralysis. Rather than money, the bishop offers Father Gil a call for patience. After a young girl dies because the hospital has only a single iron lung, Father Gil decides to become a professional boxer on the sly. Tutored by Gus, Father Gil wins his first fight for crooked fight promoter Tony Lorenzo and gains the unwanted attention of Tony's girl friend, Pearl Gorman, an alcoholic singer. After winning his second fight, Pearl dubs Father Gil "Kid Sunday," a nickname that fits the minister well. One day, Pearl follows Gus to the Grand Avenue Gym, where she abducts Father Gil after his workout and takes him out for lunch by the beach. She offers to connect Father Gil directly with Tony and his big-money fights, then becomes upset when he rejects her advances. After his third fight, Father Gil has earned enough money boxing to break ground on the hospital's swimming pool. Meanwhile, Tony offers to buy Gus's contract with Father Gil for $10,000, and after the fight manager refuses, Tony threatens to ban Gus and all his fighters from his promotions. The pressure builds on Father Gil as well, after Father Ritchie buys a second iron lung for $3,000 on "the installment plan." Learning that Pearl has gone on a drinking spree, Father Gil rescues the love-sick blonde from a downtown bar. Following his fourth victory, Pearl follows Father Gil to the bus station, where she discovers his "secret." Back in Santa Marta, Father Gil explains to Pearl his reason for fighting, and that he needs to raise $8,000 in order to buy all the necessary medical equipment. Gus then sells Father Gil's contract to Tony for $10,000, and donates the money to the minister's parish. At the christening of the hospital's swimming pool, Tony feels no remorse, as he now has the love of the reformed Pearl.