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, ... See full summary »
A rebellious youth, sentenced to a boy's reformatory for robbing a bakery, rises through the ranks of the institution through his prowess as a long distance runner. During his solitary runs... See full summary »
In Northern England in the early 1960s, Frank Machin is mean, tough and ambitious enough to become an immediate star in the rugby league team run by local employer Weaver. Machin lodges ... See full summary »
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
I don't think I had ever seen this movie from beginning to end before but had the chance to do so when it came up recently on a cable channel. One feels, after watching it in its entirety, as one does after having listened to Mahler's 9th symphony - you are emotionally drained and devastated. The movie is Exhibit A in the prosecution's case that movies were better made in the past than today. It is impossible to imagine something this excellent being produced today. The movie makes no plays for cuteness or humor, and never seeks to soften its razor-sharp edges. It is grittily real from beginning to end. Actually, it surpasses reality, as all great art does, in letting us look starkly into the cruel realities of human existence. The acting is absolutely top-notch from all the leads. One is reminded that Jackie Gleason, after all the eye-popping excesses of "The Honetmooners" (as great as that series was, for what it was) was a truly superb actor. I cannot think of a movie in which Anthony Quinn surpassed himself in his role as Mountain Rivera - tough, beaten up, beaten down, loyal, honest and yet with a sensitive core deep within. Mickey Rooney shines just as brightly. The script is brilliant, economical, realistic, and revelatory of the characters; we forget just what a brilliant writer Rod Serling was. Of course one of the reasons the movie could not be made today is that it forgoes the obligatory happy ending (which was used, evidently, in the TV version); the movie follows its dark logic all the way to the final, devastating scene.
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