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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
After 17 years as a recognized and respected sports journalist in New York City, Eddie Willis finds himself out of a job when his newspaper folds. He's approached by a major fight promoter, Nick Benko, to act as a public relations man for his new heavyweight fighter Toro Moreno. Eddie knows the how the fight game works and after watching Toro in the ring, realizes Toro is nothing but a stiff who has no hope of succeeding. Benko offers him a sizable salary and an unlimited expense account and given his financial situation, he agrees. Benko's strategy to make money is one that has been used time again. Starting in California and moving east, they arrange a series of fights for Toro with stiffs and has-beens. All of the fights are rigged to build up his record and get him a fight with the heavyweight champion, Buddy Brannen, where they will make a sizable profit at the gate. Along the way, one boxer gets killed in the ring and Eddie begins to have serious doubts about what he is doing.Written by
Respected sports writer Eddie Willis (Humphrey Bogart) is jobless when his newspaper folds. Fight promoter Nick Benko (Rod Steiger) wants to hire him as the press agent for his new heavyweight fighter Toro Moreno. The problem is that Toro is a big dumb giant stiff. Benko schemes to rig Toro's fights with nobodies building up his resume and get him a fight with the heavyweight champion Buddy Brannen.
Bogart is terrific as the morally conflicted Eddie. It's impressive considering he was unwell and this is his last film. He still carries the movie. Steiger is incredible as the bombastic croaked promoter. It's also a fine morality tale. The fight game has always been corrupted and this takes it to the extreme.
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