Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)

It’s The Set-Up (1949) meets Marty (1955) which (like this story) also had aired previously on television with a different lead actor (in this case Jack Palance). Directed by Ralph Nelson written by TV’s Rod Serling and starring Anthony Quinn as the titled heavyweight this slightly above average boxing drama explores a sometime successful prizefighter’s life (he’d been ranked fifth in the world ten years earlier) at the end of his seventeen year career. The story also includes a quasi-romance between the fallen yet proud (and somewhat punch drunk) fighter and a homely yet optimistic social worker (actually a government employment agency employee) named Grace Miller (Julie Harris). Jackie Gleason plays Louis ‘Mountain’ Rivera’s (Quinn) longtime manager Maish Rennick who gets over his head with a loan shark named Ma Greeny (Madame Spivy); Mickey Rooney plays the boxer’s more loyal longtime trainer and friend Army. Stan Adams plays Perelli a wrestling promoter who offers Rennick (and Rivera) an ‘out’ with Ma though it’s hardly an ideal opportunity. Muhammad Ali then Cassius Clay appears as himself Rivera’s last opponent before retirement; the ‘kid’ knocks out the old-timer in the seventh round of their bout at the beginning of the film.

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