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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>
Stanley Kubrick was never one for realistic films about ordinary people; the nearest he came to a straightforward drama was probably the heist movie, The Killing. This shying away from realism seems to show itself in his very first film, this short documentary about the boxer, Walter Cartier, preparing for and engaging in a fight. Any boxer is a special person, but some directors might have portrayed Cartier as a regular guy with a particular skill; but from the start Kubrick stresses Cartier's unusualness by showing waking up beside, and going around town with, his identical twin brother, giving a surreal aspect to the film.
The way Cartier psychs himself up for the fight in his dressing room, turning himself into a fighting machine, also seems to fit in with Kubrick's later interest in making films about people under stress (eg Full Metal Jacket) or in an abnormal state (eg The Shining and Clockwork Orange). It is also intriguing to wonder whether the director's fondness for voiceover narrative in his feature films stems from this and his other early documentaries. Oh, by the way, it's quite a good documentary about a fighter who, in fact, never became champ, and went into TV and films.
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