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Day of the Fight (1951)

After a short study of boxing's history, narrated by newscaster Douglas Edwards, we follow a day in the life of a middleweight Irish boxer named Walter Cartier.

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writer:

Robert Rein (narration script)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Douglas Edwards ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Nat Fleischer Nat Fleischer ... Himself - Boxing Historian
Walter Cartier Walter Cartier ... Himself - Boxer
Vincent Cartier Vincent Cartier ... Himself - Walter's Twin Brother and Manager
Bobby James Bobby James ... Himself - Boxer
Dan Stampler Dan Stampler ... Himself - Owner of The Steak Joint
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Storyline

The appeal of boxing to a fan is explained before the question is asked: what is the appeal of boxing as a career? Some of the many negatives of it as a career are the inherent violence, that it only has a limited shelf life as it is a job for the young, the fact that only one percent of the six thousand professional boxers in the United States makes a good living at it, and that making a good living is predicated on an improving record which means always needing to win. It is perhaps that last point which draws many to it as a career: that want to be the best in a competitive environment. A day on the job of one such boxer is presented, twenty-four year old middleweight Walter Cartier. This day on the job will end with a bout, which will either improve his earning potential through a win, or lessen it with a loss. Some of what Walter has to go through this day are legal in ensuring he meets all the state requirements to go into the bout. But most of the day is spent on mental and ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 March 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

This Is America: Day of the Fight See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,900 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO-Pathe See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The final sequence (the Walter Cartier vs. Bobby James bout) was filmed live on April 17, 1950 by Stanley Kubrick and Alexander Singer. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: Time is a strange thing when you have a little of it and you want it to last, it scatters away in all directions and you never know where it's gone. Twenty four years are a long time, but in a way that's gone pretty quickly for a couple of boys. It's only when you want the hours to go, like now, that time as a way of staring you in the face as it barely moves along.
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Alternate Versions

When RKO obtained the film for their "This Is America" series, they added about four minutes of new material to the beginning of the film, making the short 16 minutes long instead of the original 12 minutes. The opening four minutes with boxing historian Nat Fleischer is markedly different from the rest of the film as if features footage from different boxing matches. The opening was also modified with the credits appearing in different order and the music for the opening was also changed. The majority of the picture is the same until the end. In the last sequence when the knock out happens, the narration is once again changes. Kubrick's original cut features Douglas Edwards talking about personal sacrifice and success. The extended RKO cut removes this portion of the narration and adds new one with Nat Fleischer to better match the opening segment - this narration is about how this fight will go down into the record books. The music at the end was also changed - Gerald Fried's finale cue was moved earlier to match the beginning of the new narration, but because it starts sooner, it doesn't line up with the ending. Thus the new end title card (which adds This is America to the bottom of the card) plays in silence. See more »

Connections

Featured in Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting little short that works thanks to its pacing and shot variety.
29 July 2008 | by johnnyboyzSee all my reviews

It's always interesting to go back to the beginning of a director's career, in this case Stanley Kubrick's, and take a look at his earlier work. Day of the Fight just happens to be the first film by now legendary director Kubrick who is widely regarded as one of the best contemporary directors ever. This film is around about 15-20 minutes long and revolves around the build up to a boxing match the study of the build up will revolve around.

Interestingly enough and perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that it was inspired by a photograph Kubrick himself took for a 1949 edition of a magazine. This could be seen as an early example of suspense, with constant reference to the boxing match and its importance made through narrator Douglas Edwards, a good casting for the serious and deep voice the film required. As a short, it works and the suspense and build up maintains some sort of interest as the montage plays out. Kubrick includes all sorts of shots and angles creating the nice range for the eye, my favourite being the low angle on the statue of Mary in the church about half way through.

But the focus could well be the fight itself. There is some good camera work to be had out of the actual match and a low angle between a boxer's legs would later be used by Kubrick in Killer's Kiss, another early Kubrick film. I actually would have liked the boxing match's result to have been the other way around as I feel it would've added a new dimension to the short, a sort of anti-climatic spin that might've worked well. But that said, it's worth seeing if for the match itself and the chance to see where it all started off for the great man.


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