The Set-Up (1949, Robert Wise)

After Blood on the Moon, why not have a Robert Wise double feature? This Robert Ryan boxing drama (premiering just six weeks after he starred in Caught) is something special, taking place in real-time but without the single-shot gimmick of your Rope or your Russian Ark, or the boredoms of your Timecode.

Handsome Robert Ryan is supposed to have been losing matches for 20 years, his girl Audrey Totter (Any Number Can Play the same year) wants him to quit, meanwhile his manager is “throwing” the fight, telling a gangster that Ryan will take a fall, but without telling Ryan, assuming he’ll lose anyway and the manager can keep all the money. Buncha greasy weirdos in this movie, a good sign. Nice focus on the other loser boxers and the bloodthirsty crowd. The happy ending is Ryan winning his fight against all odds, everyone’s mad at him, his girl didn’t show up, then gangsters smash his hand with a brick and she comes and picks him up. Ryan had debuted in the pictues a decade earlier with Golden Gloves, a movie about corruption in boxing.

L-R: Ryan with toady Red (Percy Helton of Criss Cross the same year), manager George Tobias (Greek barber of The Strawberry Blonde) and boxer James Edwards (Manchurian Candidate, The Steel Helmet):

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