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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
After 17 years as a recognized and respected sports journalist in New York City, Eddie Willis finds himself out of a job when his newspaper folds. He's approached by a major fight promoter, Nick Benko, to act as a public relations man for his new heavyweight fighter Toro Moreno. Eddie knows the how the fight game works and after watching Toro in the ring, realizes Toro is nothing but a stiff who has no hope of succeeding. Benko offers him a sizable salary and an unlimited expense account and given his financial situation, he agrees. Benko's strategy to make money is one that has been used time again. Starting in California and moving east, they arrange a series of fights for Toro with stiffs and has-beens. All of the fights are rigged to build up his record and get him a fight with the heavyweight champion, Buddy Brannen, where they will make a sizable profit at the gate. Along the way, one boxer gets killed in the ring and Eddie begins to have serious doubts about what he is doing.Written by
Joe Greb has a small and uncredited role as a brain-damaged boxer who gives an interview about the damaging effects of the sport. In reality, Greb had a 12 year career as a boxer and fought in 119 bouts during that period. Greb suffered irreparable brain damage from his time as a boxer and was a vocal proponent of fighter safety. In essence, he plays himself in this film. See more »
As Eddie crosses a row of seats on his way to sit down at the Dundee fight, the collar of his overcoat turns up and down. See more »
What gives, Eddie? I looked up Toro in the book. There's no record of him in South America.
He knocked out thirty-eight guys in a row. None of them went over three rounds. You believe that one and I'll tell you another.
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Respected sports writer Eddie Willis (Humphrey Bogart) is jobless when his newspaper folds. Fight promoter Nick Benko (Rod Steiger) wants to hire him as the press agent for his new heavyweight fighter Toro Moreno. The problem is that Toro is a big dumb giant stiff. Benko schemes to rig Toro's fights with nobodies building up his resume and get him a fight with the heavyweight champion Buddy Brannen.
Bogart is terrific as the morally conflicted Eddie. It's impressive considering he was unwell and this is his last film. He still carries the movie. Steiger is incredible as the bombastic croaked promoter. It's also a fine morality tale. The fight game has always been corrupted and this takes it to the extreme.
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