At Maria Vargas' funeral, several people recall who she was and the impact she had on them. Harry Dawes was a not very successful writer/director when he and movie producer Kirk Edwards ... See full summary »
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
Primo Carnera unsuccessfully sued the film's makers, claiming it damaged his reputation for implying that he was involved in fixed fights. Carnera's career is one of the biggest mysteries in boxing, as many of the sport's historians believe that, without Carnera's knowledge, his managers paid most of his opponents to throw their fights. See more »
In the opening sequence Eddie gets into a taxi in front of Peter Cooper Village near East 14th Street, but the rear view of the cab has it located by a housing project near the Brooklyn Bridge about 2 miles south. See more »
I know they are thieves. But you are a smart man, Eddie. They cannot fool you. How much money did you get for me? How much money, Eddie?
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Humphrey Bogart is truly brilliant in this, his last film. "The Harder They Fall" (1956) is a stunning indictment of the boxing profession. The film also marks Humphrey Bogart's final performance as a former sports writer turned publicist — and he's in good company. Bogie's scenes with Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling and Mike Lane (as the giant Argentinian boxer) are truly memorable.
In addition to Bogart's fantastic performance, Rod Steiger chews the scenery nicely as a corrupt manager. Their scenes together are really well done, and very well written. I particularly enjoyed the scene after the big fight where Bogart presses to find out how much their fighter will ultimately wind up for getting so badly beaten in the ring.
There are probably a good dozen very, very good fight films, and this belongs to their number. The tension in the film derives from the ultimate conflict between Bogart's inherent decency and Steiger's unmitigated exploitativeness. The two had great on screen chemistry in their scenes together. They employed very different acting styles, Steiger being one of the first Method actors to enjoy success in the movies. Bogart was strictly old school, but he not only held his own, he dominated their scenes together.
Humphrey Bogart's last movie was a triumph! His acting was terrific! Excellent movie!
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