Archive for March 3rd, 2011

Director: Robert Wise

Producer: Richard Goldstone

Screenwriter: Art Cohn

Cinematographer: Milton R. Krasner

Music: C. Bakaleinikoff

Studio RKO  1949

Main Acting: Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter

Robert Wise directed this gritty boxing film during the peak of film noir’s popularity. Made by RKO, Orson Welles and King Kong’s old stomping ground seemed to be the best major studio equipped to tackle the genre with continuous quality. I know many people would probably rank this film higher on their own respective lists. I must admit to enjoying at least two or three other boxing movies more overall. The Set Up‘s short running length coupled with real time footage spent in the ring for four rounds feels like excessive overkill in spots. The audience of fight fans screaming for blood and an eye is cool at first, but gets slightly tiresome after countless cutaways to their reactions. I mostly enjoy the High Noon-like narrative structure visualized by showing the clocks in both the beginning and end of the picture to signify chronological duration. Although it seems that the actually playing out of Stoker Thompson’s fight with Tiger Nelson is a tad drawn out, it is fraught with tension and mystery. Will Stoker take a dive? Can he dig deep within himself and claim victory? What will happen if he double crosses his manager and refuses to take the fall (the irony being that he was never in on the fix, due to lack of faith by everyone in his corner)? These questions will all be answered in ways we expect and in some ways we don’t. (more…)

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