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James Earl Jones,
Mountain Rivera is at the end of his boxing career after a knockout by Cassius Clay in the seventh round. His left eye is one punch from permanent trauma, his ears turned to cauliflower, his speech slurred from "being hit a million times," and he slings punches anytime he hears a bell, but his trainer and 'cutman' Army, and Miss Miller, a manipulative social worker, support his illusion that he could be a movie usher, a camp counselor, or a romantic partner for Miller. But his manager Maish Rennick, knowing the truth, can't admit that he's bet everything he had that Rivera wouldn't go four rounds against Clay. Maish will pay with his life when the goon squad comes to collect if he can't persuade Rivera to abandon his pride ("I fought 111 fights and never took a dive") and agree to a wrestling contract of which he's ashamed. When Maish blurts out his secret, Rivera realizes that walking out on the deal is not an option. To save the neck of the man who's betrayed him, he embraces the ... Written by
A sad, heartbreaking, and somewhat disturbing story. Quinn is totally believable as Mountain Rivera, a boxer who, perhaps, has been in the game too long and finds himself forced out. While his world-weary cut man (Rooney) is protective of him to an extent, his manager (Gleason) only views Rivera as a paycheck. An unemployment agency staff person (Miller) sees something in Rivera that prompts him to go above and beyond the call of duty to help him get a job. All of the leads are extremely good. It appears that most of the film takes place in the dark, highlighting the seamy side of boxing. The only daytime scene is when Rivera visits the unemployment office, and even then, it appears that the place has no windows to see outside. The office is just as closed up and restricted as Rivera's limited choices after his career ends. The actress who portrayed the underworld figure that Rivera's manager has a connection to was appropriately evil and creepy. The very last scene, filled with a sense of finality and resignation, is powerful.
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