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.
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 physical preparation, the latter largely having to do with type and timing of food intake. It is that mental preparation which may be the most difficult, most specifically how to deal with what seems like the eternal wait to bout time.
Based on Kubrick's pictorial for Look Magazine (January 18, 1949) entitled "Prizefighter," "Day Of The Fight" tells of a day in the life of a middleweight Irish boxer named Walter Cartier, particularly the day of his bout with black middleweight Bobby James. This 16-minute short opens with a short (about 4 minutes) study of boxing's history, narrated by veteran newscaster Douglas Edwards in a no-nonsense, noir tone of voice. After this, we follow Walter (and his twin brother Vincent) through his day as he prepares for his 10:00 P.M. bout. After eating breakfast, going to early mass and eating lunch, he starts arranging his things for the fight at 4:00 P.M. By 8:00, he is waiting in his dressing room, where he undergoes a mental transformation, turning into the fighting machine the crowd clamors for. At 10:00, he faces James, and soon, he comes out victorious in a short match which was filmed live on April 17th, 1950.
- A day in the life of Walter Cartier, a middleweight boxer.
He rises at 6:00 am, attends Morning Mass at his church, looks after his dog, takes a medical for his coming fight that evening, lunches in a friends restaurant, enjoys a couple of hours on final training.
At last the match, for him it's "the end of a working day".