Stoker Thompson is a 35-year-old has-been boxer. His once-promising fighting career has come crashing to the end. Tiny, Stoker's manager, is sure he will continue to lose fights, so he takes money for a "dive" from a mobster, but is so sure that Thompson will lose that he doesn't tell the boxer about the set-up. At the beginning of the last round of the vicious boxing match he learns of the fix.
|Release Date||:||April 2, 1949|
|Production Company||:||RKO Radio Pictures|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||Robert Wise, Edward Killy, Joel Freeman|
|Writers||:||Robert Wise, Art Cohn, Joseph Moncure March|
|Casts||:||Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias, Alan Baxter, Wallace Ford, Percy Helton, Hal Baylor, Darryl Hickman, James Edwards, David Clarke, Phillip Pine, Edwin Max, Kevin O'Morrison|
|Plot Keywords||:||gambling, transporter, boxer, boxing match, sport, classic noir, gritty|
Fight scenes-wise, this was "Rocky" almost 30 years before there ever was a "Rocky." It was the same kind of unrelenting (and unrealistic in that no matter how bad the beating the good guy was getting, the good guy couldn't lose) boxing action that Sylvester Stallone likes so much.
But, don't get me wrong, I liked this film. It was good stuff. 'Rocky" was drama, romance while this was film-noir.....and solid film-noir, too.
Robert Ryan, playing a 35-year-old aging rank fighter, gives it his all against an up-and-coming kid, not knowing that he supposed to take a dive. He finally finds this out (his manager didn't tell him) and by then, he was not going give up trying against his opponent.
There are so many punches thrown in this four-round bout it will make your head swim. The best part of this film, to me, was the cinematography, which was outstanding. Kudos to director Robert Wise for the photography. There are a lot of nice facial closeups in here, all of which look sharp on the recent DVD transfer.
Humor is thrown into this film-noir as we see a variety of boxing fans, from the bloodthirsty woman to a fat man always eating to another guy acting out the action while in his ringside seat. They provide some much- needed respite from the grim story. Ryan, as he usually was, is interesting to watch. The ending of the film is a tough one and, I found tough to watch at times.
Note: the film was done in "real time" - a 72-minute period in the life of the boxer Ryan portrays.