7.8/10
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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.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (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:
... Stoker
... Julie
... Tiny
... Little Boy
... Gus
... Red
... Tiger Nelson (as Hal Fieberling)
... Shanley
... Moore (as Kenny O'Morrison)
... Luther Hawkins
... Gunboat Johnson
... Souza
... 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:

Language:

Release Date:

2 April 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El luchador  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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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: Well, that's the way it is. You're a fighter, you gotta fight.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fighters (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

"The Nearness of You' (1938) (uncredited)
Music by Hoagy Carmichael
Played in the score
See more »

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User Reviews

 
TKO!
12 November 1999 | by See all my reviews

This film is a knockout on every level, a thrilling 75-minute character study told in real time by director Robert Wise. Wise pulls haunting performances from every member of a large cast, and makes telling use of cinematography, sets and sound (every street sign and pop tune seems to comment on the character's broken emotions). Along with "They Drive By Night" and "The Third Man" the same year, "The Set-Up" brought humanity to film noir. An overlooked classic.


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