7.9/10
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74 user 52 critic

The Set-Up (1949)

Approved | | Crime, Film-Noir, Sport | 2 April 1949 (USA)
Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

Art Cohn (screenplay), Joseph Moncure March (from the poem by)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Ryan ... Stoker
Audrey Totter ... Julie
George Tobias ... Tiny
Alan Baxter ... Little Boy
Wallace Ford ... Gus
Percy Helton ... Red
Hal Baylor ... Tiger Nelson (as Hal Fieberling)
Darryl Hickman ... Shanley
Kevin O'Morrison ... Moore (as Kenny O'Morrison)
James Edwards ... Luther Hawkins
David Clarke ... Gunboat Johnson
Phillip Pine ... Souza
Edwin Max ... Danny
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Storyline

Over-the-hill boxer Bill 'Stoker' Thompson insists he can still win, though his sexy wife Julie pleads with him to quit. But his manager Tiny is so confident he will lose, he takes money for a "dive" from tough gambler Little Boy...without bothering to tell Stoker. Tension builds as Stoker hopes to "take" Tiger Nelson, unaware of what will happen to him if he does. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Sensational Picture You've Been Hearing and Reading About! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Film-Noir | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Set-Up See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Wise wanted to remain faithful to the original poem The Set-Up was based on and he was keen on casting Canada Lee, a former boxer turned actor who previously appeared in Body and Soul (1947). RKO vetoed the idea since at that point a black actor never played the lead in major Hollywood film. See more »

Goofs

During the fight, a man in front of Little Boy and his girlfriend bets $20 with his companion that Stoker will "go the distance". Little Boy's girl takes him up on the bet. Later the man says "I still say it will go the limit". Little Boy's girl bets him $100 that it won't. When the fight ends with Stoker the winner by a knockout, Little Boy's girl pays off the bets at Little Boy's insistence. But the fight did not go the distance - a decision by the judges. So Little Boy's girl was a winner, not a loser, even though the wrong guy got knocked out. See more »

Quotes

Stoker: Yeah, top spot. And I'm just one punch away.
Julie: I remember the first time you told me that. You were just one punch away from the title shot then. Don't you see, Bill, you'll always be just one punch away.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pretty Little Liars: Stolen Kisses (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening
(1943) (uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Played in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

Still Packs A Punch
6 August 2004 | by mcdamstenSee all my reviews

Overshadowed by the more heralded The Champion in 1949, I like this movie better. Maybe the grittiness of this one with its unrelentingly seedy environment and no obvious feel good outcome made it less popular at the time. After seeing it for years on cable, a most welcome sight on DVD. Certainly an Oscar caliber performance by Ryan. The direction and cinematograpy also Oscar worthy. The boxing match itself is a classic, convincingly choreographed. The whole cast down to the smallest part is uniformly fine, with many memorable faces. The sense of anxiety we feel for Stoker mixed with hope and fleeting elation makes quite a compelling story. The movie is 71 minutes and is in `real time` ****1/2 out of *****


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