Born to Fight (1936) stars Kane Richmond as boxer Tom "Bomber" Brown, who goes on the lam after clobbering a gangster and falls in love with the homeless adolescent Baby Face (19-year old Frankie Darro). They set up housekeeping -- Bomber cooks breakfast for Baby Face, asks "How did you sleep?" in the morning. When they determine that Baby Face could make a good living as a boxer (after all, he already has the name for it), Bomber starts taking 12-hour shifts at the gas station to pay for his training.
Several years pass, while we see the standard boxing and backstage plot of fame and hubris, and they break up. Then they realize how much they care for each other and reconcile with teary-eyed abandon. Homoromance is triumphant.
Now sharing a secret life, the two spend many scenes heart-to-hearting and going on long walks together. When Jerry begins courting a girl, Lee roils with jealousy. What does he need a “dame” for? Why can’t it be just the two of them? One night Jerry fails to appear at the boarding house at his usual time, and Lee stays up late waiting, along with Yvonne (Rosita Baker), the landlady’s daughter. Finally Jerry shows up:
Lee: [Anxiously] Where you been? I’ve been looking for you.
Jerry: Out for a walk. Want anything special?
Lee: [Hesitates.] No. . .I just wanted to say hello.
Jerry: Okay – hello. [Goes upstairs.]
Yvonne: [Frustrated.] Is that all you wanted to say to Jerry? Hello?
Lee’s inability to express his interest in Jerry is counterbalanced by his very vocal disinterest in Yvonne: he rebuffs her with snide asides, tells her in no uncertain terms to “scram,” accepts a date with her only when Jerry offers to double.
The movie ends with the bad guys subdued and Jerry in a clinch with his girl, while Lee looks on in rather obvious distress. There has been no physical intimacy, no exclusivity, no promise of permanence; the passion has been all one-sided. Yvonne swoops in to kiss him on the cheek, and he grimaces as we fade out to dreams deferred.