The Set-Up (1949) Ep. 47 w/ special guest Raquel Stecher

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

I'm max Baril. And this is classic movie musts where every week we breakdown a classic movie while looking to provide artistic insight and historical context at the very least. We'll talk about what makes these movies classics. Classic movie must releases every Friday ready to complimentary weekend movie, viewing plans classic movie must is supported by listeners. Like you. If you want to help support the show, I thank you so much and second head on over to patriot dot com slash classic movie. Musts every patriot subscriber earns cool perks and ways to engage with the show, including the opportunity to vote every month on a movie they'd like to hear discussed on the show. All it takes is one dollar per month. A huge thank you to our patriots subscribers. You make this show possible. You can read about our support tears and the rewards over at patriot dot com slash classic movie. Musts thank you for joining me this week as. As we discussed Robert Weiss's, boxing melodrama the setup in this episode during our feature presentation, we welcomed kell Stecher to discuss the setups combination of Noir, stylings and boxing drama, but first let's get into this week's opening credits. Our film this week is the setup which was directed by Robert Weiss and was released in nineteen forty nine. The setup starts Robert Ryan and Audrey totter fear, streaming ease. The setup is available for streaming rental on I tunes Amazon YouTube and Google play outside a rundown boxing arena, where an evening fights is about to begin boxing manager tiny and trainer read discuss their aging heavyweight Bill Stoker Thomson played by Robert Ryan who is scheduled to compete that night. A few minutes later at the ringside cafe tiny accepts fifty dollar bribe from gambler little boy who wants Stoker to throw his four round match and assure the upcoming tiger Nelson victory tiny agrees to little boys. Stipulations that Stoker go down after the second round. Then informs trainer read that he is not going to tell Stoker about the deal as he is sure the boxer will lose. Us anyway in a nearby hotel. Meanwhile, Stoker tries to convince his concerned wife Julie played by Audrey totter that even though he's thirty five. He is still only one punch away from top spot. Julie who has dutifully supported her husband's declining career is unmoved by his boasts and begs him to retire from the ring when Stoker insists on continuing Julie, sadly informs him that she will not watch him fight that night disturbed, by Julie's words. Stoker grows pensive while being prepped in the arenas crowded dressing room and listens. Thoughtfully to the hopeful nervous chatter of his fellow boxers before Shanley a young and frightened boxer lease to make his professional debut. Stoker notices that the light has gone off in his tell room and happily assumes that Julie has changed her mind about coming to the fight as Julie's about to enter the arena. However, she hears the roar of the bloodthirsty crowd and retreats in disgust. After Shanley returns to the jesting room. Glowing with victory gunboat Johnson, a washed up middleweight who's Eitel a champion boxer who wants suffered Twenty-one losses in a row is pummeled to defeat. Restless and depressed. Julie. Meanwhile, walks the CD streets near the arena stopping on a bridge to watch the passing trolleys below back the arena to more fighters meet their opponents one losing the other winning Stoker than enters the ring for his bout and his dismayed to see that Julie seat is empty as Stoker receives his last minute rub down little boy and his girlfriend bunny place bets against him from the stands still unaware of tiny deal. Stoker ignores reds advice to stay away from Nelson and goes after his opponent with conviction by the end of the second round Stoker has Nelson who was told by little boy to go easy on Stoker during the first two rounds against the ropes Stoker continues to fight hard in round three. But his knee. Nearly knocked out by Nelson who then calls him a think fearful now that Stoker may win the bout tiny tells him about little boys deal and begs him to lie down in the last round. Although exhausted and bleeding Stoker instead hammers Nelson with a volley of punches and knocks him unconscious Stoker's. Unexpected glory is short lived. However as he is immediately condemned by an angry little boy aware that little boys. Thugs are waiting to attack him outside Stoker tries to sneak out of the arena, but becomes trapped in an alley after Stoker who has been beaten and pinned to the ground by the thugs manages to slug little boy in the face. The enraged gambler crushes Stoker's hand with a brick thereby ending his career. Shortly later, Julie sees Stoker stumbled out of the alley and rushes to his side as she holds her battered, but proud husband in her arms. She asked for his forgiveness. Then assures him that they both won. Tonight. The setup won the best cinematography award at the nineteen forty-nine con film festival and now it's eggs in the coffee because it's time for our feature presentation. Joining us for today's feature presentation is Raquel Stecher. Raquel. I'm so pleased that you are on the show with us today. Excited to introduce everyone to you. Thank you for coming on, thanks for having me. So for our any of our listeners who are not aware. You are quite the prolific film writer or writer about films, I should say, and you are kind of a one woman machines show on two different, film, blogs, and many other outlets. So I feel like you're probably can summarize it all better and more succinctly than I can. So tell our listeners about who you are. And what you're up to because you do some excellent film writing out. That's a very flattering introduction. Thank you. So I absolutely love movies, and I was very passionate about classic movies in particular. So I started a classic move people over ten years ago called out of the past. It's out of the past blog dot com. So I write about just exclusively. Classic movies on there. It has a YouTube channel and a Facebook page. I'm on I'm on Twitter, all the time talking about movies and through that blog. I've been able to go to the TC 'em classic film festival and see lots of great classic movies on the big screen and interview some special guests, it's been really great experience. And then last year, I started a new movie blog called Cal movies dot com. And that's where I focus on indie cinema and film festivals and foreign cinema. And I also write about classic movies for DVD Netflix and for Turner classic movies. I mean, that's. Very impressive Antea. Obviously, you were where you know. We're in good company here if we clearly have a mutual love for classic movies. I always have a SaaS spot for people who get there. I mean, that's very impressive ten years to have a classic movie blog all the credit to you. Thank you. So I when I approached you to come on the show because I was excited to get you on we chatted a little bit about potential movies to talk about and one the one you suggested and the one we settled on is the setup, and I'm very curious to hear about because this was one there's definitely your suggestion. And I was very excited to talk about it. But I feel kind of based from the moment it came out through. Now, the classic film canon has kind of maybe not entirely forgotten about it. But it gets a little overlooked. Impart at the time. Kirk Douglas is boxing movie champion also came out. And I feel it the breaks just didn't quite go its way. So I'm so curious about your love for this movie. And why you know, what draws you to this film? Well, so I found this film through my very first classic film purchase, which was this five disc box set of film Noir, that I got just for out of the past which obviously name of my blog, but also a really great film Noir. So I watched the setup because I mean, I owned a copy why not and I was like, this is such an amazing film. It marries like two of my favorite John Rhys, which is the sports, film and film Noir. And it doesn't insomuch a great way. And it's at of. I mean, I've seen a lot of movies about boxing. And this is the one movie that has the most boxing in it. So it's just it's just a wonderful film. And it's one of those Goto were in anyone is asked me for a recommendation for classic movie that they'd be interested in and maybe don't know a lot about classic movies. This one's great. Because the if they like sports, and they like something with drama, and this is only like a little over an hour. It's it's a perfect film to watch. All right. Well, I'm glad that we're kind of maybe introducing the film to some of our listeners who maybe hadn't seen it. I hadn't seen it in a very long time. It kind of brought back a flash from the past for me as well. And I mean, as you say this movie does so many things so well, so kind of interestingly as you say, it's an hour and sixteen minutes, but the movie takes place in real time. We see a clock at the beginning of the movie. That's I think ninety five and the movie ends, and it's ten twenty one. I think there's something along those lines. So an hour and sixteen minutes of real time. And as you say, I love the late forties and early fifties in Hollywood cinema because you start to see that blending that hybridize ING of different elements as you say, I mean, this movie is very clearly a sports movie. I mean such a prolonged look at not just the boxing sequence. But just the boxing world that whole mill you, and as well as the male melodrama and bringing in all those film, nor stylings kind of leaving behind the typical detective mystery thriller and bringing it to not your typical space, obviously, there are some kind of crime dealings in this film as well. But it brings that expression Nick, hardboiled style to a different arena, pardon the pun. But it's it's really a fantastic blending of all those things. And I think it does all all of them. Very well. I mean, it was interesting to my research. The film is that Dorje Sherry of ARCO. Wanted to make pictures that were on a be budget, but a quality, and that's shows in this film, because it's it's a short movie it's in real time. But like the attention to detail in the film, elevates it to and it's not melodrama. It's not over the top. It's not overly sentimental. It's as almost as natural as you can get a story about a boxer whose past his prime in has this one last go at it. So that quality is what I think makes it last beyond its years like just go like even years and years later, it's still something that audiences today. Can appreciate because it's it's it's so good. The quality is so good. Absolutely, right. I. It's interesting that you that you say it because it does. I mean, you think of a movie that that length, and you think well is this more of a kind of a b picture, but it's really not. I mean, this is Robert vices Weiss's last film for our KO under his contract there. It's reportedly one of his favorites that he made at ARCO. It was the last film. He edited though, he's not credited is the editor in this. We talked a couple of weeks ago about citizen Kane, obviously, Robert Weiss's, the director editor of citizen Kane. And and he wasn't particularly happy with how the edit was coming along on this film and took it over, and the editing is one of the things I think we'll talk about it. So the pacing of this film. First of all just the length hour and sixteen minutes of real time. But I mean as the fight sequences go on it's hard not to be impressed. I think it was a few other a few more weeks ago that we talked about the Manchurian candidate on classic movie must which features a fight scene. With Frank Sinatra. That is so clunky done. But you give it a pass. It's nineteen sixty two. And you think this movie and nineteen forty nine how well it handles a fight a prolonged fight scene and making it so dynamic so exciting. It's it's really quite impressive to watch. Yeah. I actually heard that episode a little while ago. And when I watched the setup I thought of that conversation, you guys have because it's so much different here because the boxing is so realistic because you have these two people who are boxers who are have had experience boxing who train for the scene. And then Robert rice, it all this work to get it to look as real as possible, and it's a really long boxing sequence. And I mean, even people like professionals who saw it afterwards. We're like, wow that looked real. So the that that's not something that appeared in films at that time in terms of showing a. Fight scene and actually showing real blows that look like like if you were there watching a boxing match, absolutely the I mean, I think rubber wise at excellent coverage of these scenes. I mean the way he's able to kind of have his wide shots to capture the action and then close ups, and then those kind of flare shots of sweat blasting off of off of these guys. And as you mentioned just the attention to detail supposedly are Weise frequented. These kind of amateur boxing clubs in preparation for the film. They brought in a choreographer. I mean, like a professional boxer as a choreographer, and it really shows that attention to detail. This does not come off as kind of a Hollywood interpretation of the boxing's atmosphere. This comes off his so real. And I think in part, and we can start to maybe talk about the war stylings of it as well. It's that kind of gritty realism that this isn't you know, these. Aren't you know, as much as these guys aspire to be champions? This is far from the championship seen as you can get and the kind of realism that we deal with these characters in their space is it's quite moving as well. Yeah, I think. In the DVD. I have Martin Scorsese talks about the film. And he said this where they're having these boxing matches. It's the end of the road this paradise city, which is kind of a funny name for place that seems very downtrodden. And this is just like, yeah. This is not a glorified boxing movie. This is very very gritty and real and almost like down and dirty, and that kind of speaks to that film Noir element to like these duplicitous characters in these shady things going on, and you know, these bad characters coming out of shadows. And also, even like, the the lighting from when Robert Ryan's character. Looks out the window to the the light that's coming from the hotel sign like all those those elements are so great, absolutely. I mean, we can kind of tackle this movie from any number of angles. But there's three kind of sequences that I would kind of hope that we'll we'll dive into a little deeper and one jumping a little bit into the movie is the sequence of once Robert Ryan Scherzer Stoker gets to the locker room of the boxing ring, and his time there in preparation for his fight to me is such an amazing scene. Prolonged seen of him amongst all these other boxers of every generation, and you see very much. I mean his past and his present from this young kid to another boxer very much in his prime which interestingly enough played by James Edwards. So well, and I feel like dealing I've seen a lot of James Edwards lately because he was in the Manchurian candidate, which we talked about now in the setup and we're doing the killing in a couple a couple of weeks, and he is in that film as well. And he's such a great actor, but his character as Luther the kind of on top of his, you know, kind of up and coming, but near his prime has this view of of being a champion. But you when you see the men around him, you wonder if that's even really possibility. And then, of course, gunboat the just completely delusional boxer who you just feel is one punch away from death. These these characters are depicted with such care, their performance the way they reflect the kind of psychological profile of boxer. It's to me. It's it's amazing to watch. I love watching that kind of sequence the locker room. Sequences are my favorite of the fell. I think it's the heart of the movie just to see all these characters in different different stages of their careers. And they're having philosophical discussions like there. Talking about relationships that they have with women in and they won one of the characters played by Darryl Hickman. Like, you had mentioned is in up and coming boxer. This is very first professional fight, and he's terrified. And then you have I think that's there's one of the characters to whose name is Tony, and he's he has a little bible and he's talking about heaven, and he's talking about lake like these these thoughts that he's having about his career. And also what it means for his life to and there's this come rodri- that's going on in the film that like that all happens in the locker room scene. Also, like, I really liked the scenes with Wallace Ford who plays the guy. I don't know. What is is role is exactly, but he's taking care of everybody's taking care of their wounds, wrapping the bandages on their hands. That's another tension detail like. You see all the little things that go into boxing like getting treated before. And after. And you had mentioned James Edwards, and that's super interesting because the main character was supposed to be African American. So I thought it was interesting to have his character there, even though he doesn't have a very strong world. But maybe it's a little throwback to the source material saying like, oh, hey, you know, this story was originally supposed to be about an African American boxer rubber Weise apparently saying that he wouldn't have had any problem casting African American actor, but didn't Arcadio didn't have anyone that they felt was a star. You know, big enough star to carry the film. Although, you know, even though he may not have been star James said words, I think would have been more than up to the task if they wanted to direction he's so good as Luther is kind of the admirations. He has for these older, boxers even though I mean, it's right. The delusion that often these all of them have the evidence is all there that this is not a a life of success and happiness. But you get and you and I love that you brought up Darryl Hickman character this young kid. Who is terrifying? The scene when you can tell he's nervous. And then this other boxer comes in talking about how he just completely defeated this guy. And then he goes and throws up because of the fear. I love that. How it's then juxtaposed with him coming back after winning his first fight. And now, you can just tell that he has that same addiction that all of these other men have chasing that glory. It's you can see he's now just on that same path that they're all on how long before, you know, all of these men are gunboat, and I think that's so fantastic. Because he's like the on the opposite spectrum of Robert Ryan's character with this being has very first fight. And I just want to like throw in something that I actually met Darryl Hickman at the San classic film festival. I interviewed him. And I was so nervous. I forgot to ask him about this movie. And I'm like. Oh, my favorite movie of his too. But that was pretty cool just to be able to have met somebody who was in this movie. But I also really liked to that robberies. Character Stoker is remembering his first fight. He says, oh, it was twenty years ago in Trenton, New Jersey, and what does kinda cool because it parallels Robert Ryan's real life because he used to box in college, and that was about twenty years ago from the time where they film this movie, and he had read the novel that the the long poem that the story was based on he read it in college. So he has his own trajectory as well remembering his own boxing past to. And I think it's I mean, I don't know if you agree. But it seems like it just shows these as you say Robert Ryan boxed in college. I mean, it just the sense of realism around these people in. In this setting. And obviously we'll get to the fight sequence itself. But it comes off so offensive. And but I appreciate how they balance it to show that you know, I think the Hollywood interpretation of boxing is the fight. And this film really gives the fair balance of saying what are the men doing when they're not fighting how much time to think to, you know, get caught up in their own thoughts their own philosophies their own delusions. It's to me. It's so compelling that this film is balanced between very much the prefight and then the fight. And obviously we get the post fight itself, which we'll get to. I'm curious before we get to the fight itself. How do you? What do you make of this relationship between Robert Ryan and Audrey totter character? Julie which I think is so it's a nice twist, even though this is so much of a Noir that they are a married couple. She clearly supports her. Her husband. She is in. She is not offend fatale. By any means, you know, breaking that trend. She's there to support her husband. She wants to be there. But she can't she's been defeated before before. He has that you know, the love there. She can't watch him. Take these beatings anymore. I think it's it's a common trope in boxing movies to have the long suffering wife. They're kind of having to deal with this. But this even more so in this film because she really cares about her husband. And she just sees how he's suffering. I mean, he's had a long string of losses and some in one scene. She's talking about how two hours after really brutal match. He doesn't even remember her name. She's very concerned about him. What I think her character brings to this is the. I mean, there's there's a lot going on. We know something bad's going to happen to him. But it it brings gravitas to the story. Like there's repercussions beyond him of what happens to him it affects other people too. And she she brings that balance to the story, which I think is really necessary. I love the moment when she decided she is going to go to the match and takes a half a step in the door. And you get that blast of the crowd. And she just can't do it. I mean, I think to me it's such a powerful moment. And then at the end, you know, you really don't know like the implication, are they have they broken up is this the end of their relationship, potentially. She has her meal and she has vegetable soup waiting for him in his hotel room under the assumption that he lost. He's not going to be able to chew he's only going to have like soup, but she's still there for him. It's I heard little ark of suffering while not even being in the room with him is is quite compelling in its own way. And I love how Robert Ryan expresses how much her relate like their relationship means to him. Because is when he does see her step in for that one moment he thinks she'll be there. And there's like this. He has this various. Kiss grin. But there's almost like the satisfation that like comes over him. And you feel like, wow, he has the support. He thinks he has the support of his wife, and it kind of gives him a boost for when he goes into the ring. And then when he's actually in the ring any sees that empty chair any gets any gets concerned about that league. You you have these very small moments where no dialogue is really spoken or he's asking where's section it. 'cause he really wants to know if she's there, but he's expressing a lot of this love for her. Because he really cares. What she thinks. It's a very tender love story that's kind of embedded in. What is very very gritty film. Absolutely. Well, said I and then before we get to the fight the last two characters I think we're talking about because I mean credit to this film, the on samba of characters who have varying degrees of roles, but each character, I think brings so much in their personality and kind of the persona they bring but. Stoker's manager and his coach if you will tiny red. I think are so well done. It's so sad. I mean, the idea that he as a manager you're taking a bribe to have your your boxer lose. But you don't even believe in your boxer enough to tell him about it that he's just going to lose. Anyway, I mean, it's kind of heartbreaking Prentice, but the two of them in that role by the time. This episode airs the previous week will have done an episode on Gilda, and we talk a little bit about how that film kind of breaks the mold with more of an own fatality FM fatal. And you get a little bit of that here as well with the element of these are the two guys who are literally supposed to be in his corner. And they completely betray his trust in the end. And they just I mean, there's something even more, you know, infuriating about that. They just run away at the end of this. And you never see them again. Yeah. And they're what I love about. It is that they're not on the same exact level of deceit. Right. Like with tiny. He's all in. He's not gonna tell Stoker about the deal. He's the one that's collected the money. He's the one. That's keeping it under wraps but red is kind of wavering in between. He's not sh- case keeps telling tiny you need to tell him you need to tell him. And when they do tell him at the very end one of the things, that's really interesting comparison comparing those characters with Robert Ryan Stoker is that soaker doesn't want to do it. He he wouldn't actually throw the fight. He's got a good chance to win. And also that's not even in his character. He's like a he's a decent guy. He doesn't want to do this. You know? Thing just for money. Like, he he wants he wants to do this for himself and for his pride and for his work as a boxer. So I think it's interesting to compare those characters to him. But also that. Yeah. That tiny and read are kind of doing this deceit. But they're not they're like you have read kind of wavering between that was interesting. I think it's interesting how they both kind of they both want him to lose. And they go about it in different ways. Right. Tiny wants him to just go out there and throw punches because he thinks he'll just get totally knocked out. And you could tell red cares. More about Stoker in the sense of like, I want him to lose. But maybe if he just plays it more defensively, he'll lose and not get completely demolished at the same time. But yeah, they're they're. Deceit of him is is something that's runs almost the course of the entire movie. And it's it's it's heartbreaking to watch. But I think that kind of brings us to the fight scene itself. Which is now where you get kind of the technical elements of this film cinematography gets very interesting the editing is so well paced and then as well. And I want to talk about which I'm sure we will is just kind of the onset of the whole scene to me. What's as almost as fascinating as the fight is the audience itself, and how much attention Robert Weiss spends on the people and the personalities of people who come to these boxing matches one of my favorite parts of this movie is those those people in the audience, and they have their own characters and their own kind of storylines. Great. Absolutely. I mean, I guess already on it. They paint this very vivid picture of this amateur boxing world from the very beginning. We think we. It's actually a nice callback. Where we see this double date, if you will at the outside the boxing match, it seems like this is just killing time until we meet the main characters, and the one woman is like the last time, I came I can't even I couldn't even open my eyes. And then as this fight goes on. She is you know, we come back to her and she's like a total advocate for the bloodshed. If you will. She gets super into it. She's the one she's the one rooting him on is at the very beginning of the match. Someone is like get a wheelchair, you know, making fun of him because he's older, and then she gets into it. And she's like, yeah, she gets really bloodthirsty and she's like get him get him. It's great great moment. And you see how fickle the audiences because I'm not mistaken. She spends early parts of this fight rooting for Stoker's opponent tiger Nelson and her along with many of the other characters they begin the fight rooting for this younger guy wanting, you know, get rid of this old guy. But as the fight goes on as Stoker asserts himself, it becomes this underdog story where everyone in a blink of an eye shifts to rooting for Stoker. And it shows you how how fickle an audience can be. And how passionate is well, you know, my I have a particular affinity to the to the blind man who has to be led led into the boxing and described it the all the action by his friend, and he is equally bloodthirsty and have one second where he's like glad that Stoker's about to get his I completely closed. And then the next totally rooting for Stoker. And it's those it's so side personalities that bring so much personality so much atmosphere to this movie. And I want to mention a couple other characters. There's the there's the guy who's listening to the baseball game on the portal portable radio. And I think I remember hearing that rubber Weiss had seeds something like that at a boxing match and put that into the script. It's a fantastic detail. Yeah, that's a fantastic detail and one thing I should have mentioned earlier. But there's there's a great scene at the very beginning of the movie where the actor Frank Richards play. As bat who's like, the guy who sending sense and sorry selling the programs for the matches. And he's an older guy. He's like, hey, you know, get this get this like newspaper, whatever and then this newsboy much younger. He's selling newspapers stands right in front of them and kind of gets his customers. And he says, hey, you know, I'm trying to sell newspapers here, and he's like wanted to go take a walk, right? And it's a great dynamic between an older guy and a younger guy, and how that competes like someone at the beginning of their career and someone who's already kind of maybe towards the end of their career that mirrors what's going on with Robert Ryan's character Stoker and the younger boxer tiger Nelson who's fighting. But then also bat the character who's selling. These is the these programs is the only one who actually believes the Stoker can win. And at the end, he's the one who's congratulating him because once the manager and the assistant tiny red have left. That's all he has. That was super interesting. Yeah. And yeah, exactly the, you know, that's an interesting point. I hadn't necessarily thought of. Yes. He's the only one left at the end of this fight to really congratulate Stoker even these ardent fans who've now become so passionate in there. They clear out immediately and things move on. And you realize how little how how brief how non lasting this these moments are as everyone leaves? And as you say, he's really the only person there to really even help this man out of the ring after the fight put his put his robe on him. And and yes, it's an excellent foreshadowing of the themes of this film, and in in that brief moment that opens the film, and it's that kind of an an hour sixteen minute movie. How jam packed. This whole film is. No time is wasted non everything. Everything is significant. No question. So as you say, I think the first time I watched this movie. I was quite surprised that we see the four rounds at this that this fight goes in full, we there's no editing in the sense of lip. Sing time cutting anything out they're gonna show you this entire fight. But they are going to, you know, not do it in a in any sort of what's the word listless way. I mean, this is a very dynamic fight sequence. That really keeps you on the edge of your seat in terms of we have a sense that Stoker is gonna probably win given that this is a movie, but the ups and downs of this fight the kind of the back and forth. It's it's I mean, it makes for a very compelling. Fight scene. Yeah. No, I agree. I mean, the the attention to realism in the actual fighting. Ng? But then also how the the secret that's being held from Stoker kind of starts to unravel as match goes is super interesting and how the like the characters like little boy and his assistant whose name I'm sorry. I'm forgetting who they look over to tiny and read like, hey, what's going on wise, and he giving up like, and then it starts to unravel at the same time as the boxing matches happening. It's it's just like all this attention to like, you have a really great boxing match. But then you have the audience, and then you have these characters on the side at the ring, and you have all these elements, and it just makes for a fantastic sequence. Yes, exactly. You have all these kind of parallel lines of action. And if you were to just watch four rounds of boxing, it would almost be like. Well, okay. Is this? What are we really doing here? But it is that very much that balance of these off the evolution of the audience. The kind of sorted action. That's going on with little boy his girlfriend who's taking bets from people in the audience. Great little addition to I liked her character. Yes. Yeah. Exactly. It's totally unnecessary character. But at the same time, it's what moves that scene forward where as soon as you like all right? Well, this boxing's meeting a little long, you can cut to and see the evolution. As you say. The looks the subtlety of the performance between little boy and his forget his name as well. But is his henchmen in the ring the box all of these guys. And then of course, Gus and an extremely tiny red and their looks of fear as their as Stoker starts to do. Well, gives you that kind of. Understanding of what's going on. And keeps you so engaged in the sequence. And then of course, you have some, you know, such fantastic shots as the start of the round the camera being underneath Stoker's stool and kind of in between his legs, you get the view of his opponent. I mean, there's no question you brought up Martin Scorsese earlier the extent to which this film goes onto not clear Zo, clearly inspire films like raging bull. But just giving us a language for shooting boxing, film, that would clearly goes on to this very day through rocky and now creed and all of these movies what what a debt they owe to this film. And one thing too is what I love about. This whole sequence is how it gets into Stoker's head like you have that one scene old that one shot where he's struggling to get up pennies kind of on all fours eight looks up and there's a sinus as over thirty five. And that's that's like. This assign of how he's feeling his age. And how this is a struggle. He's going up against or there's a moment where he's lying on back. And he's almost you. They're doing the countdown and everything and he's having a moment. Trying to figure out if he's going to be able to get up. Those are just this stuff that that makes the so it makes it entertainment. But it also it makes it a quality film because it's just not like you said, it's not just four matches of boxing. And that's all you're seeing. You're seeing all these other elements that help you understand the story. But also keep you interested and you get such insight. I think throughout into the kind of psychology of this particularly Stoker, but all these I mean, there's such a kind of character and psychological element to the film. That is never as you say with these kind of details in these little moments that might only last few few seconds. But it gives you that insight into how they're actually feeling in a very. The real way that that obviously aligns us as the audience even more with him and our desire to see him succeed. But also, you know, this isn't a surface level depiction of boxer on the rise. As you say. I mean, we know we we hope he's going to win. But we don't actually feel. He has any shot at real success. We just want him to have his moment. Yes. Yeah. We're all rooting for him. Absolutely anything else. You want to talk about in regards to the boxing scene before we move onto kind of the after the boxing scene in the kind of action that proceeds from there. No, actually, I do want to mention one thing too is the I like to call out the use of makeup in this film in terms of like the attention to detail that they put on the cauliflower ears and the cuts on the face like they do it in a way that looks like. Yeah, these are boxers who are fighting and they got hurt in. There's like little little bit of blood in certain places in it's done in a way that looks real. But you know, sometimes people complain about classic movies going over the top. These this is not over the top. This is a very realistic depiction of what it would look like to have been in the match. And I thought that was another detail that was interesting in the boxing elements, especially in the locker room scene, and in this scene as how it progresses you see the cuts and you see the little the little injuries that they get on their on their face. And you're like, wow, this is real that's an excellent. Point. It does come off mean you don't see through it in this lightest. And it does make it that much more offensive. Yeah. Absolutely. Great point. So Stoker wins this fight. And you know, he's obviously thrilled with himself. But as we as we mentioned earlier completely alone. Immediately is not there to be with him. He he only has his his friend. And and then he, you know, he has Gus for a moment, but then that all comes crumbling down as little boy comes to confront him in the locker room, and what from now until you know, the pretty much the end of the film. What I find interesting is the turn that this film takes to the darkness of Noir. Because while there's there's most certainly suspense to the fight scene. This is a suspense that borders on horror when he is leaving, you know, when he has to he knows that he's fleeing for his life, essentially, I'm curious what you think. Of that sequence because I get so tense watching him walk the halls and then run a run across the vacant arena. It's masterfully done. So I've seen this film. Well, over twenty thirty times, I don't even know how many times I've seen it every time. I see him not even in the scene where he's confronted by little boy in the locker room. But when he like you said when he goes into the empty ring. And then he hears a noise, and then he's running I get so scared, and even though I know was going to happen. I kind of don't want to believe it. And I want to thank he'll make it to the hotel to Julie in time. And it'll be fine. But yet it's so well done and the tension is built up so beautifully. And it is just terrifying. What happens to him and how it's shot and the lighting and that boxing ring being Mt. Just like you can tell it's an omen of something. That's really really bad. It's about the happen. Absolutely. When he before he crosses that boxing ring when he's in the hallway, I mean, it really feels like I have to remind myself, this isn't a horror film, and there's not a monster. That's about to pop out of somewhere because it feels like ripe for a jump scare. I mean, the way the very the expression is stick lighting that he uses the use of shadow. I mean, it's it's gorgeous in a terrifying way. And then once he makes it out into the alley, and you have these four men kind of bearing down on him as he tries to flee yet in vain. It's I mean, it really does start to feel like you're now in some sort of monster film of some sort. I mean, it's and then you have this kind of glory this last he goes out in a blaze of glory if you will. It's but it's quite it's quite something. To contrast the fight that ends this film with the fight. That spends the bulk of the movie, which is kind of the honorable boxing match. Now, you have the back alley brawl, and it feels totally different feels like the back alley brawl versus a fight a boxing match. And at this whole sequence is just fantastic. I loved the lighting or he's like Robert Ryan's coming out of the dark into the light. And there's some moments where you feel hopeful like, there's a moment where you see him coming into the light. And he sees the hotel sign, and you think he's there's some hope that he'll make it across the street. And then those four characters come up and block him, you know, oh, shoot something's about to happen. But then there's also when they pant him to the ground, and he gets one nice punch too little boy and little boys lip starts to bleed. And you know, like, okay, he's a victim. But he's also. Not a victim. Like he did his best to get out of that situation to fight back with all that he had. So I think those are nice touches that kind of add to the horror of the scene, but also kind of make you feel like good about championing this character. He just let them do whatever he fought back. Yeah. He he exactly this is a man who he clearly cares about being the best boxer. He can be and recalls. He doesn't want to fight these guys. He just wants to go on with his life. But at the same time, you kind of it recalls early on when he's talking with Julie. And he says to her, you know, a fighter has to fight. And he reaches that point as you say, he's not going to completely bow down to these men when there's no other option left. He gives it his best. And you think even in that fight there might be he almost is able to escape, but this is nor influenced after all and when he gets. It's finally pinned down. You do get the satisfaction of that punch. But you know, it's over, and you wonder a little bit about how what you know, to what extent these gangsters going to hurt him. And frankly, obviously, the film ends on a positive note in the sense that they give him the excuse to finally retire. And Julie's obviously thrilled about it Stoker. I'm sure feels a little bit differently. But understand it's probably for the best. And he's got to go out a winner. But you have that balance of as good as noble and strong as Stoker is he you know. You know, ultimately loses to the to the circumstances of the situation, which is so trademark of Noir. And he and one another trademark to is that we don't actually see him being having his hand crushed by the brick like, we don't actually see that. Because it pans over to shadow of jazz players, and then the music is turned up. So we don't actually get to see him like we see him pinned down. But we don't actually get to see the Taliban. What they're doing to them, which is kind of a relief after all that boxing. We saw earlier right? Also enough that we know something really bad is going to happen or is happening in this immanent. And one thing I think is is interesting too is after after they've abandoned him, and he's kind of stumbling trying to get up and there's that couple who's on the fire escape, and they just think he's a drunk guy. And they say one of the character says boy, he boy has he got a snow. Hopefull? And I think that's that's one thing about this movie that maybe is talked about very much is that there's all these really great lines. Like, oh, yeah. That's like eggs in the coffee, and there's all these little colloquialisms that are so nineteen forties and some of them I had to look up because they didn't know what they meant. But it kind of adds a charm to the movie too. And it gives it a nice sense of place in time. Because I mean, I could even just go through this movie tried to make a list of all of them because there are so many. But I think that's also that whole sequence to as to kind of like almost the pace of a situation that they don't even believe that. He's a victim of something. They just think he's a drunk guy who just got got himself into that situation. Absolutely. Yeah. That's that's a great point about the dialogue. I mean again it fits the situation. So well, if you're in a small town and the kind of. It's just you know, that kind of a night out where people are probably a little drunk, and it's a boxing arena, and all these things, and you have that dialogue. That is not. Is not glamorous. It's not Hollywood and it fits nineteen forties. Smalltown america. Very well. I forgot I forgot about the eggs in the coffee line. That is I laugh about that one as well. That's a great line. I think tiny says that when he's arranging the deal. Oh, it's in the coffee. There's another person who says, oh, we'll give you an apple orchard. And I'm like, this is great. I love these lines. Just add personality d. It's also I mean, you mentioned the music that plays in the shadow of the band on the wall. Which is a great moment where we understand exactly what's happening. But we don't it's better. It's obviously invokes for more magic nation that we don't see what's happening. And you know, it reminds me as well as you know, it's it's easy, especially the nineteen forties. Where Hollywood is about kind of seamless storytelling where you don't necessarily want to the audience to be aware of the sound design of a movie at this in this era. But it's so well done in the sense of moments like that when I mentioned earlier about Julie going into the arena, and then throughout that kind of sound of roaring crowd is kind of haunting her during her time. Kind of wandering the city at night. You know, it's kind of what it's the sound of. And the, you know visuals of that little boxing game in the arcade that sends her away even though she's starting to have a moment of of happiness. And it's I mean as we've been talking about throughout for. For a movie that I think in other hands would have kind of started to become a b picture that was meant for just kind of the visual entertainment of boxing. This is really a very well crafted very deliberately crafted movie, and that's where we get all these kind of psychological elements, and what makes it stand the test of time that it's it's still so compelling to watch now in two thousand nineteen I I totally agree with you. And I I really like what the point you're making about the character. Julie played by Audrey totter. She is very much haunted by this whole boxing life. And as you said she's trying to choose just walking around, and she sees all these couples, and they're having fun. And then this one couple has like they're playing like little boxing game. And then when she sees like one of the toys hit the other toy she's like, she starts to feel again what what what her husband's going through. And then she finds that solitude on the overpass like is this. Ethic. That's really interesting something I had noticed or paid attention to as much as that. Yes. She's really haunted by this and she's trying to find solace. But it keeps coming back to her keeps haunting her absolutely. And the film. I like that the film doesn't forget about her from beginning to end we her journey, and it's a short film. So we don't necessarily go that much indepth, and she has no one particularly to talk to. But we see just on the subtlety of performance of her being confronted with situations and kind of her how she reacts to them where we understand in a very human way the pain she's going through. I think that adds definitely a nice dimension to the film. An added layer that that keeps you invested throughout. Anything anything else that jumps to mind as you? I mean, I mean, I defer to you twenty to thirty times having watched this movie. I mean, that's that's like an achievement unto itself. I thought I saw it on the big screen for the first time last year at the Grauman's Egyptian in Los Angeles and Eddie Muller from the Fillmore foundation. Also, he's hosted in warr alley on he introduced it. And he had somebody read part of the poem that the story was based on. I thought that was super interesting, and I I looked up the poem. I haven't read it yet. But I marked Tarita, and I think it's interesting that we talked about before how it was an African American character. But also at the spoiler alert at the end of the novel or the long poem. He dies. He's he passes out on a train track and gets hit by train. And I think, wow, I'm grateful that this film had a happier ending. Then the original story because that's awful, so bad. But I like that there's hope at the end of this movie, you know, like at the beginning of the movie, they're talking about maybe him having his own little restaurant or something or having another business as long as he could get some more fights in him, and in like, Audrey totter character, Julie knows now that now that his hand has been like, basically demolished by brick, and he can't fight anymore that they have this new hope of another life where she's not haunted by what's going to happen to her husband. If he's going to die in the next fight. So I love that. There's it's a greedy film. But there's this beautiful hopeful moment at the end, it is you do have this hopeful moment. I can't you know at the same time it's war, and you can't help but feel like he probably only one a little bit of money tonight. So it's like are they in fact going to be able to open a business, and then I even if they're happy I still. And it's the power of that locker room scene. I always drawn back to those other guys and your heart goes out for them where you know, Luther and the young kid and gun boat. And you're just like man, those guys aren't on a good path. And they're so vividly drawn in such a short period of time that it's it's amazing. How those characters stay with you. But also credits Robert ranks. I think his performance Stoker is absolutely fantastic. And this is such a brutal sport. I mean, it's it's you know. Yeah, I give you said these guys are not gonna have a really great future. In terms of like, I mean, they might have boxing success. But the sport is so brutal on the body. You know that they're in for pain and suffering in the future and one thing too about this film because it's so focused on boxing is. They say that the more specific story is the more universal. It is in it. When I think about this movie really is about somebody who it is somebody about who's at the end of their career, maybe at a crossroads in their life. But he's also about somebody who doesn't have anybody who has faith in him. He's got this one guy the guy who sent sell. It sells the programs who has faith in him. But like pretty much no one else has faith in him. And he has to have faith in himself that he can accomplish this thing that almost seems impossible. And that speaks to so many people like there's always time in our lives that we feel like while I wanna -ccomplish this. But it seems impossible, and I don't have the support to find the support within myself. So I think that's one of the great things about this film is that it's so specific, but it can speak to so many people that you brought that up because I think as you say the universality of it where you can see how that story. In that kind of arc would appeal in nineteen forty nine two. The American male who you know, pro most likely has returned now from World War Two is trying to figure out how to really fit in is trying to kind of recapture a glory since passed or, you know, having feel like they didn't get their Chan real chance at glory and trying to fit back in. And as you say, I think it speaks very much to the culture at that moment. But at the same time as you say the more specific, you can make something speak to a specific moment, it's bound to resonate. And I find it so compelling now any other final thoughts Raquel. Not that. I can think we taught we cover quite a lot. Actually. I mean, we have an expert right here with us. You're you're an advocate for this movie. And I'm glad you are because I think as I mentioned earlier on it. It got a little overshadowed when it released. Chan champion with Kirk Douglas kind of stole the limelight. For variety of reasons. But this movie, it's what it does cinematic Lii is. So is so compelling, I think it's it's rare that you see especially a sports movie that holds up this. Well, this many years later, and then how well it's you know, it's Mark on the boxing genre in general is undeniable. So it's it's absolutely worth study and hour and sixteen minutes. It's rare that you get to watch such a compelling movie in such a short period of time, and it's one of those films, you can watch and then watch again immediately after because you could watch it the first time for the drama, and then the second time for maybe the details that you want to relish on a second viewing that you might have not paid too much attention to on the first so you could watch this twice in the time. It would take to watch a contemporary movie. There you go. There's. Keep recommending it to people because I just think it's one of those gateway films classic movies when they're like hundred if I like white movies, though, you gotta watch this one you like it. We're in the right place to talk about classic movies for sure. And I think it's it's it's speaks to everyone recall. I'm so glad you were able to join us and talk about it. I hope I hope we'll get you back on the show in the future. Because this was a fun chat. Tell tell our listeners where they can find you one more time because I'm sure they will want to read what you're writing. So my blog is out of the past blog dot com, and I write about new movies on Cal movies dot com. And I'm on Twitter a lot love talking about movies there at recall Stecher despite name, and I have a YouTube channel that goes with my blog is YouTube dot com slash out of the past blog. And if you go to my websites, I have links everywhere. And if you go to like, the TC Sam tumbler, I have a couple articles a month on there that you can check out very cool. Well, rick. Thank you so much. This was a great shet-. And I hope we get to talk more soon. Yes. Thank you so much. That concludes our episode on the setup I would love to hear what you think of this. Classic movie must to tweet at movie must pod or E mail. Classic movie. Must edgy Mel dot com. Listen to all our episodes on our website classic movie, musts dot com. Support the show and receive cool perks on patriot like becoming a producer of the show and get your name read at the end of every episode just like our producers, Don Hoffman Lee. Eleanor in max on redid. Thank you, all for your generous, patronage checkout, all our support tears and the rewards over at patriotair dot com slash classic movie. Musts on the next episode. We're discussing Bob Fosse's musical all that jazz. All that jazz is available for streaming rental on tunes and Amazon and remember episodes release every Friday on all podcast services. Thank you so much for listening until the next episode keep up with your classics.

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