I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Harder They Fall (1956)

Eddie (Humphrey Bogart) used to be a well-known sportswriter until the newspaper he worked for folded.  Nick (Rod Steiger), a less than ethical fight promoter, begs Eddie to get the news out about his latest find, a boxer named Toro (Mike Lane).  Toro is big, strong, but has no real boxing skills.  Nick is only looking at dollar signs.  Against his better judgement, Eddie agrees to be a publicity agent.

Eddie invites a sports news colleague and old friend of his, Art (Harold J. Stone) to Toro's first professional fight. Toro's opponent has been paid to take a dive, and Art recognizes it right away.  Eddie asks Art to put a spin on what he saw.  Art agrees, but Eddie is aware that Art's respect for him has gone down because of it.  Nick and his crew, including Leo (Nehemiah Persoff), a sneaky bookkeeper, are all about making dollars for themselves while shortchanging the boxers.  Eddie is in deep, mainly because of his own greed.  But his distaste for how Toro is being treated grows, and his conscious gets a hold of him.

This film is not far off the mark about how boxing was run during the mid-20th century.  Unfortunately, the sport still hasn't been able to completely shake off the effects of past misdeeds by promoters, managers, trainers, organized crime involvement, etc., even to this day.  This is a good film that sheds light on the underside of a great sport.  This was also Bogart's last film.

Jack Albertson ("Chico and the Man"), Abel Fernandez ("The Untouchables"), as well as professional boxers Max Baer and Jersey Joe Wolcott can be seen in small roles.

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