Set-Up The (1949)
Directed by Robert Wise this highly thought of relatively short boxing film (which plays out in real time) stars Robert Ryan as an aging boxer (‘Stoker’) whose wife played by Audrey Totter hopes she can convince him to quit before he’s badly beaten again. She can no longer stomach watching his being battered. Against her pleadings Stoker thinks he can win another fight to relive that thrill at least one more time. Unfortunately his manager (George Tobias) who believes his boxer has no chance to win has accepted money from a gambler for Stoker to throw the bout to a younger “up and coming” boxer (Hal Baylor). As his wife waits for him across the street in their hotel room Stoker contemplates what his manager has told him but decides to throw “caution to the wind” in hopes of salvaging one last glory for himself. He must then accept the consequences of that decision. The bout itself is especially brutal (think Raging Bull (1980)) well choreographed and realistic and director makes the crowd part of it by chronicling many of the seedy (even sadistic) fans’ reactions throughout the fight. Wallace Ford among others also appears.