Mountain Rivera, a punchy has-been managed by the unprincipled Maish, is mauled in a fight and forced to quit boxing. Can his devoted cutman and a sympathetic social worker help him find a ...
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Mountain Rivera, a punchy has-been managed by the unprincipled Maish, is mauled in a fight and forced to quit boxing. Can his devoted cutman and a sympathetic social worker help him find a life outside the ring, or will Maish find a way to exploit him one more time?Written by
The original theatrical release (@ 102 minutes) includes the following three segments which were removed from the VHS and DVD releases (both of which are approximately 86 minutes):
Following the fade on Ma Greeny's reaction shot as Maish is beaten in the boxing ring, there is a seven minute sequence in the hotel bar and adjacent alley: Maish asks Mountain if he has any money stashed away (to pay off Ma Greeny); Mountain recognizes and stops to help a bleeding, drunk fighter in the alley and gets into a fight with his scumbag promoter of illegal matches, which is broken up by Army and Maish, who rejects scumbag's idea of getting Mountain a wrestling career with Pirelli. Scene ends with Maish's clichés about the Three Musketeers and "Til death do us part" that reinforce the illusion that "Nobody jumps anybody in this group!"
A 1 minute 43 second transitional sequence after Mountain is rejected for the movie usher job shows him rejected as he tries to get a job on a moving van crew and as a sparring partner for a boxer who's training to fight Clay. Again he starts a fight after the boxer says, "I already got a punching bag!"
A 6 minute 27 second sequence after Maish's reaction shot in the stairway following his confrontation with Grace Miller. Pirelli is coaching Mountain in the gym to "make it look real!" Again Mountain starts punching his wrestling partner after his seriously injured eye is intentionally reinjured. Ma Greeny's goon squad warns Maish that he has till tomorrow to come up with the cash. And Ma Greeny tells Maish that "we're cutting out the middleman" and that Pirelli will pay her directly for Mountain's wrestling contract. Maish says, "I wish you weren't a woman," and Ma replies, "Maishy darling, that's the nicest thing anyone ever said to me!"
The VHS release adds an additional scene (@ 1 minute 11 seconds) which was cut from both the theatrical and DVD releases. [Since the DVD restores the original sequence at this point, and significantly changes the emotional focus of the ending, the DVD is preferable to the VHS release.] As Mountain ascends (both literally and figuratively) to the wrestling ring, the deleted scene has Maish warning the newbie who wants to sign a boxing contract replacing Mountain to "Go home!" instead of starting a career in which there are only eight champions and everybody else is a loser. The VHS also cuts medium shot in which the referree says, "Come on, Mountain, let's get this show on the road!" and, more significantly, the closeup in which Mountain makes the crucial decision to embrace his humiliation and starts his warwhoop dance around the ring.
Stunning & Fantastic Portrayal of the Seedy Aspects of Pugilism!
Jackie Gleason is in his element as promoter/manager/trainer of a broken down end-of-the-road boxer "Mountain Rivera" played brilliantly by Anthony Quinn. After 17 punishing years getting battered in the Ring "The Mountain" sports the scars, brain paralysis and the "shot" hoarse voice of an ex-fighter who is played to the hilt by Quinn. Mickey Rooney as "Mountain's" trainer is also sensational in his role. The whole cast in this film is simply fantastic. The writing of Rod Serling (of "Twilight Zone" fame) is masterful to say the least. Julie Harris who tries to provide hope for Rivera's future is beautifully and "tenderly" rendered on screen. The sleazy nature of the boxing business in the seedy surroundings of the cockroach infested hotel rooms is starkly defined in this black and white celluloid. There is a scene with Mickey Rooney and Jackie Gleason playing cards reminiscent of "The Honeymooners" with Art Carney when Gleason explodes in exasperation at Rooney who delays playing his hand at "gin" rummy. This is a taut and brilliantly portrayed film that everyone should see. Muhammed Ali (as Cassius Clay) is hauntingly shot at the beginning of the film. Jack Dempsey, the former heavyweight champ, is also shown at his restaurant in New York. The corruption and fear in this business is tellingly displayed. In fact this is a "must see" and "must own" kind of film. A Knock Out! As an aside, Jackie Gleason was so great on film partly because of his experience in live vaudeville shows. He grew up in abject poverty as a boy. This forced him out at an early age to make a living. The greatness came from hard times, talent and an insatiable work ethic. Thus the great talent of Jackie Gleason began to shine to the point of dethroning Milton Berle out of the top TV spot in 1954 as "The Honeymooners" stormed on screen. So many great talents from this era developed in the same way. Poverty and hard times had a way of producing talented star entertainers in the 30's and 40's. Perhaps this explains the lack of talent on screen today.
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