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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"The Set-Up" (1949)

Sometimes you discover a movie and afterward you say to yourself, "Omigosh, where has this film BEEN all my life?" This little gem is not merely one of the the best boxing films ever, it's one of the best films in the whole film noir canon. Period. Robert Ryan is a sincere palooka, a decent boxer who never quite broke thru to title status and who's now getting just a little too old...but there's one more fight. Trouble is, his smarmy manager has told the local mob boss Ryan is gonna throw the bout, they just haven't told him. Given this is a nasty noir world, you know the tragedy's coming, you just don't know how bad it will be. Brace yourself, it's heartbreaking. Every boxing flick since owes a BIG debt to the way this film is expertly shot and edited (Mr. Scorcese, i'm looking at you). At a swift real-time of only 73 minutes, it's fast, filmic, punchy, and perfect. Don't miss it. 

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