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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)
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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:

I Want a Man... Not a Human Punching Bag! 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:

El luchador See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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

Martin Scorsese is a big fan of the film and was so impressed by the boxing sequences that he had to deliberately avoid copying any of Robert Wise's camera tricks when it came his turn to make a boxing movie, Raging Bull (1980). See more »

Goofs

When Julie Thompson takes her walk from the gymnasium, she watches Pacific Electric interurban cars as they enter a subway tunnel. Car No. 707 is shown passing twice in a row. 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

Featured in Sports on the Silver Screen (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Sidewalk Boogie
(uncredited)
Music by Roy Webb
See more »

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User Reviews

 
'Rocky' Before There Was A "Rocky'
20 December 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

Fight scenes-wise, this was "Rocky" almost 30 years before there ever was a "Rocky." It was the same kind of unrelenting (and unrealistic in that no matter how bad the beating the good guy was getting, the good guy couldn't lose) boxing action that Sylvester Stallone likes so much.

But, don't get me wrong, I liked this film. It was good stuff. 'Rocky" was drama, romance while this was film-noir.....and solid film-noir, too.

Robert Ryan, playing a 35-year-old aging rank fighter, gives it his all against an up-and-coming kid, not knowing that he supposed to take a dive. He finally finds this out (his manager didn't tell him) and by then, he was not going give up trying against his opponent.

There are so many punches thrown in this four-round bout it will make your head swim. The best part of this film, to me, was the cinematography, which was outstanding. Kudos to director Robert Wise for the photography. There are a lot of nice facial closeups in here, all of which look sharp on the recent DVD transfer.

Humor is thrown into this film-noir as we see a variety of boxing fans, from the bloodthirsty woman to a fat man always eating to another guy acting out the action while in his ringside seat. They provide some much- needed respite from the grim story. Ryan, as he usually was, is interesting to watch. The ending of the film is a tough one and, I found tough to watch at times.

Note: the film was done in "real time" - a 72-minute period in the life of the boxer Ryan portrays.


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