Cincinnati Babyhead

Speaks his mind on music & movies!

Movie : Requiem For A Heavyweight

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We open in a bar with the patrons watching a fight on TV.  Then we’re in the ring and seeing the fight through the eyes of one of the boxers.  He’s taking a beating.  We see the end of the fight through this perspective.  The ref, trainer, manager, the other fighter all come into his line of vision (what’s left of it).  Everything happens fast.  The faces react to what they are seeing.   Then we see it.  It’s not good

In the dressing room the doctor looks our fighter over.  His face is hamburger.  After examining the eyes the doctor gives the word.  Mountain Rivera’s fighting days are over.  If he continues he will go blind.  The news is not taken well by the trainer, and the manager.  Their meal ticket is expired.  Maish,  Mountains manager is worried for his life.  He owes money to bookies and no way to repay it.

After the news that his fighting days are over, Mountain hits the bricks and looks for employment still feeling he owes Maish.  He meets a counselor at the employment office.  She takes a liking to Mountain and sets up a job interview that fails miserably.  After this indecent Mountain is guilted into taking Maish’s advice and takes work as a professional wrestler.

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‘Requiem’  left an impression with CB.   It’s a dark , sad story.  A good man at the end of the only thing he’s ever know how to do and totally unprepared for when that ends.   Anthony Quinn as Mountain Rivera brings the character to life.  A big,  lumbering,  punched out man/ child trying to move on with his life.  Still loyal to those around him.  Great performance.  The supporting actors are also very good.  Julie Harris as the employment counselor almost seems as sheltered and innocent as Mountain.  Mickey Rooney as Army,  trainer/friend,  sees his friend’s prospects and feels the impact of what is happening.  Jackie Gleason is just out and out fantastic.  He takes us on a roller coaster ride with his portrayal.  Empathy, greed, fear, anger, mean, manipulative, selfish.  These are what we see in his character, some more than others.  His scene at the end where all is revealed is some really good work.   Mountain, Army and Maish make  a great fucked up family.  You believe the history these men have together.  The card game between Gleason and Rooney is a good one.

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Ralph Nelson takes Rod Serling’s  story and gives it a bare bones touch.  His cinematographer Arthur J. Ornitz captures it all in black and white and creates the dark lonely feel of the film.  Nelson also sprinkles in some great character with ex fighters and a new one, Cassius Clay to help bring authenticity to the film.  The soundtrack also adds to the feel.

This is more than a boxing movie.  It’s a gritty, heartfelt little treasure of a film.  CB loved it.

6 comments on “Movie : Requiem For A Heavyweight

  1. Yeah, Another Blogger
    September 17, 2017

    A great flick. People forget that Gleason was much more than a comedian.

    I love the poster for this movie. It’s beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 17, 2017

      You’re absolutely right about Gleason. How about his work in ‘The Hustler’? A lesson on believing you’re the character.
      The poster does it’s job. Captures the feel. Makes you want to see the film. There are some great film posters. Thanks Neil.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim S.
    September 17, 2017

    Terrific choice, CB. Haven’t seen it in years. Serling’s Twilight Zone stuff were often short morality plays.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cincinnatibabyhead
      September 17, 2017

      I went on a ‘Zone’ binge a few years ago. Just about time to do it again. This is a good flick. “Morality play” is the right term.


      • Jim S.
        September 17, 2017

        There’s an interesting TZ that was pulled from TV in the States back when it was made. A then-unknown George Takei starred in it. Wikipedia says it was pulled due to sensitivity over the Vietnam War. I saw it and it’s pretty good. It’s on Netflix.

        Liked by 2 people

      • cincinnatibabyhead
        September 17, 2017

        I’ll have to get my head around that one. I watched them up here so it might have slipped by. So many good episodes and all the good actors that were cast is worth a revisit

        Liked by 1 person

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