Expecting the usual loss, a boxing manager takes bribes from a betting gangster without telling his fighter.Expecting the usual loss, a boxing manager takes bribes from a betting gangster without telling his fighter.Expecting the usual loss, a boxing manager takes bribes from a betting gangster without telling his fighter.
This might be the best boxing movie ever made. It's kind of the opposite of "Rocky," of course (this one is about the small points, and not about becoming champion). But it's also the opposite of the two other classics that come to mind: "Raging Bull" and "Body and Soul."
Director Robert Wise made sure that everything here felt authentic and gritty--almost too authentic and gritty. You marvel at all the types in the crowds, inside and outside the ring. You notice the small rooms, the ordinary props, the lack of glamour. If you aren't afraid of the word mise-en-scene, this has created it perfectly. It's transporting.
And moving. Robert Ryan in the lead pulls out some of his best, subtle reactions. He's sometimes prone to strained expressions that may not always fit his character, but here he is thoughtful and determined and showing signs of being the old wise man in the crowd as the younger boxers act cocky or scared.
Then there's the plot drawn out of the title. It's a good thing this doesn't dominate the movie, at least not until the end, because the real plot has to do with a man coming to grips with the end of his career. And with a woman who loves him truly. It's great stuff.
- Sep 30, 2010