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Mountain Rivera, a punchy has-been managed by the unprincipled Maish, is mauled in a fight and forced to quit boxing. Can his devoted cutman and a sympathetic social worker help him find a life outside the ring, or will Maish find a way to exploit him one more time? Written by
Stunning & Fantastic Portrayal of the Seedy Aspects of Pugilism!
Jackie Gleason is in his element as promoter/manager/trainer of a broken down end-of-the-road boxer "Mountain Rivera" played brilliantly by Anthony Quinn. After 17 punishing years getting battered in the Ring "The Mountain" sports the scars, brain paralysis and the "shot" hoarse voice of an ex-fighter who is played to the hilt by Quinn. Mickey Rooney as "Mountain's" trainer is also sensational in his role. The whole cast in this film is simply fantastic. The writing of Rod Serling (of "Twilight Zone" fame) is masterful to say the least. Julie Harris who tries to provide hope for Rivera's future is beautifully and "tenderly" rendered on screen. The sleazy nature of the boxing business in the seedy surroundings of the cockroach infested hotel rooms is starkly defined in this black and white celluloid. There is a scene with Mickey Rooney and Jackie Gleason playing cards reminiscent of "The Honeymooners" with Art Carney when Gleason explodes in exasperation at Rooney who delays playing his hand at "gin" rummy. This is a taut and brilliantly portrayed film that everyone should see. Muhammed Ali (as Cassius Clay) is hauntingly shot at the beginning of the film. Jack Dempsey, the former heavyweight champ, is also shown at his restaurant in New York. The corruption and fear in this business is tellingly displayed. In fact this is a "must see" and "must own" kind of film. A Knock Out! As an aside, Jackie Gleason was so great on film partly because of his experience in live vaudeville shows. He grew up in abject poverty as a boy. This forced him out at an early age to make a living. The greatness came from hard times, talent and an insatiable work ethic. Thus the great talent of Jackie Gleason began to shine to the point of dethroning Milton Berle out of the top TV spot in 1954 as "The Honeymooners" stormed on screen. So many great talents from this era developed in the same way. Poverty and hard times had a way of producing talented star entertainers in the 30's and 40's. Perhaps this explains the lack of talent on screen today.
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