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Based on Kubrick's pictorial for Look Magazine (January 18, 1949) entitled "Prizefighter," "Day Of The Fight" tells of a day in the life of a middleweight Irish boxer named Walter Cartier, particularly the day of his bout with black middleweight Bobby James. This 16-minute short opens with a short (about 4 minutes) study of boxing's history, narrated by veteran newscaster Douglas Edwards in a no-nonsense, noir tone of voice. After this, we follow Walter (and his twin brother Vincent) through his day as he prepares for his 10:00 P.M. bout. After eating breakfast, going to early mass and eating lunch, he starts arranging his things for the fight at 4:00 P.M. By 8:00, he is waiting in his dressing room, where he undergoes a mental transformation, turning into the fighting machine the crowd clamors for. At 10:00, he faces James, and soon, he comes out victorious in a short match which was filmed live on April 17th, 1950. Written by
Marc-David Jacobs <AgentMarcFBI@hotmail.com>
Walter isn't concerned with the hands of the clock now, just his own hands. As he gets ready to walk out there in the arena in front of the people, Walter is slowly becoming another man. This is the man who cannot lose, who must not lose. The hard movements of his arms and fists are different from what they were an hour ago. They belong to a fierce new person. They're part of the arena man, the fighting machine that the crowd outside has paid to see in fifteen minutes.
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Interesting little short that works thanks to its pacing and shot variety.
It's always interesting to go back to the beginning of a director's career, in this case Stanley Kubrick's, and take a look at his earlier work. Day of the Fight just happens to be the first film by now legendary director Kubrick who is widely regarded as one of the best contemporary directors ever. This film is around about 15-20 minutes long and revolves around the build up to a boxing match the study of the build up will revolve around.
Interestingly enough and perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that it was inspired by a photograph Kubrick himself took for a 1949 edition of a magazine. This could be seen as an early example of suspense, with constant reference to the boxing match and its importance made through narrator Douglas Edwards, a good casting for the serious and deep voice the film required. As a short, it works and the suspense and build up maintains some sort of interest as the montage plays out. Kubrick includes all sorts of shots and angles creating the nice range for the eye, my favourite being the low angle on the statue of Mary in the church about half way through.
But the focus could well be the fight itself. There is some good camera work to be had out of the actual match and a low angle between a boxer's legs would later be used by Kubrick in Killer's Kiss, another early Kubrick film. I actually would have liked the boxing match's result to have been the other way around as I feel it would've added a new dimension to the short, a sort of anti-climatic spin that might've worked well. But that said, it's worth seeing if for the match itself and the chance to see where it all started off for the great man.
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