The Set-Up

The Set-Up

Robert Wise (1949)

68min
PG Certificate
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Review

Our Score
This bruising sports drama is arguably the best boxing film ever made, a knockout production from the great days of RKO studios. It was among the first to show the crippling confrontation between good and evil in the ring, when an over-the-hill, down-the-bill boxer is sold out by his manager, and then has to face the consequences of his gangster connections. The usually villainous Robert Ryan is wonderful as the plausibly decent fighter, though Audrey Totter as his wife is miscast. Director Robert Wise, way before he made The Sound of Music, controversially depicted the ringside audience as sadists lusting for blood. And there is plenty of it, as Milton Krasner's camera darts around in a flurry of action to create boxing scenes of brain-jarring ferocity. This savage morality tale was adapted from a poem (by James Moncure March), would you believe. It's not to be missed.

Summary

An ageing boxer prepares for a bout, ignoring his wife's pleas to quit. He discovers his manager has made a deal with a crooked gambler to throw the fight. Enraged, he goes into the ring determined to win, unaware of the dangerous consequences if he does. Drama that plays out in real time, starring Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias and Alan Baxter.

Cast & Crew

Bill `Stoker' Thompson Robert Ryan
Julie Audrey Totter
Tiny George Tobias
Little boy Alan Baxter
Gus Wallace Ford
Red Percy Helton
Tiger Nelson Hal Fieberling
Director Robert Wise
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: R.K.O. Radio Pictures LtdGuidance: Violence.Available on: video
Drama