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The Set-Up (1949)

Approved | | Crime, Film-Noir, Sport | 2 April 1949 (USA)
Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.

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(screenplay), (from the poem by)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
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Gus
...
Red
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Tiger Nelson (as Hal Fieberling)
...
Shanley
...
Moore (as Kenny O'Morrison)
James Edwards ...
Luther Hawkins
...
Gunboat Johnson
...
Souza
...
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Storyline

Over-the-hill boxer Bill 'Stoker' Thompson insists he can still win, though his sexy wife Julie pleads with him to quit. But his manager Tiny is so confident he will lose, he takes money for a "dive" from tough gambler Little Boy...without bothering to tell Stoker. Tension builds as Stoker hopes to "take" Tiger Nelson, unaware of what will happen to him if he does. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Sensational Picture You've Been Hearing and Reading About! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Film-Noir | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 April 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El luchador  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based upon a narrative poem published in 1928 by Joseph Moncure March, who gave up his job as the first managing editor of "The New Yorker" to devote himself to writing. On the strength of it, he went to Hollywood as a screenwriter, remaining there for a dozen years. In 1948 he volunteered to work on this film, but was turned down. He was incensed that his black boxer Pansy Jones was changed into the white Stoker Thompson. See more »

Goofs

When Stoker is laying on the dressing room table after the fight, the position of Gus's "Love" magazine, located above Stoker's head, changes from the medium shot to the closeup. See more »

Quotes

Stoker: Well, that's the way it is. You're a fighter, you gotta fight.
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Connections

Referenced in The Subject Was Roses (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

"Paradise (1931) (uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Played in the score
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User Reviews

 
'Rocky' Before There Was A "Rocky'
20 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

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.


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