The Square Ring

For the ring used in the sport of boxing, see Boxing Ring.
The Square Ring
Directed by Basil Dearden
Produced by Michael Relph
Written by Alec Grahame
Based on The Square Ring (play)
by Ralph Peterson
Starring Jack Warner
Robert Beatty
Bill Owen
Music by Dock Mathieson
Cinematography Otto Heller
Edited by Peter Bezencenet
Distributed by GFD (UK)
Release dates
  • 13 July 1953 (1953-07-13) (UK)
Running time
83 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Square Ring is a 1953 British film produced by Michael Relph, directed by Basil Dearden and made at Ealing Studios. It stars Jack Warner, Robert Beatty and Bill Owen.[1] The film, based on a stage play by Ralph Peterson,[2][3] centres on one night at a fairly seedy boxing venue and tells the different stories of the various fighters and spectators.


Five stories that take place mainly in the locker room prior to and after various bouts during a single evening at a cheap boxing stadium. These include a novice cheated of victory, a boxer who refuses to "throw" a fight, and a veteran trying to make a come-back who pays with his life.[2][3]


Original Play

The film was based on a 1952 play with the same name by Sydney-born radio writer Ralph Peterson who arrived in London only the year before.[4] He wrote it over a three-month period. Peterson was inspired by material he had learned from writing the radio play Come Out Fighting, set in the world of boxing. He sent the play to Anthony Quayle, who he had met in Sydney, who agreed to put it on.[5][6]


Film rights were bought by Michael Balcon at Ealing and John Mills was announced as star, with Basil Dearden to direct and Michael Relph to produce.[7] Eventually Mills dropped out and was replaced by Canadian actor Robert Beatty.[8] He had no boxing experience so he trained for two weeks in preparation for the role.[9]


Critical reception was mixed. One review called the film "uneven", accusing it of "veering between comedy and tragedy".[10]

1960 TV Adaptation

The Square Ring
Release dates
Running time
90 mins
Country Australia
Language English

The play was also adapted for Australian TV in 1960.


See also


  2. 1 2 "The Square Ring | BFI | BFI". Retrieved 2014-04-03.
  3. 1 2 "The Square Ring Trailer, Reviews and Schedule for The Square Ring |". Retrieved 2014-04-03.
  4. "LONDON ACCLAIMS AUSTRALIAN'S PLAY". The Sydney Morning Herald (35,831). New South Wales, Australia. 23 October 1952. p. 3. Retrieved 8 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "Sydney Writer's London Stage Hit". The Sunday Herald (Sydney) (196). New South Wales, Australia. 26 October 1952. p. 12. Retrieved 8 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "Australian writer's success". The Australian Women's Weekly. 20, (26). Australia, Australia. 26 November 1952. p. 31. Retrieved 8 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "Adelaide man's play to be filmed - John Mills to star". News. 59, (9,142). South Australia. 26 November 1952. p. 5. Retrieved 8 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "Robert Beatty in boxing picture". The Mail (Adelaide). 42, (2,121). South Australia. 31 January 1953. p. 3 (SUNDAY MAGAZINE). Retrieved 8 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  9. "Film May End A 50-Year Jinx.". The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953). Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia. 21 June 1953. p. 14. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  10. Radio Times. Guide to Films (2004). p.1328

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