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The Set-Up

The Set-Up(1949)

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  • the set up

    • kevin sellers
    • 6/26/15

    Before he sold his soul to the G rated devil (i.e. agreed to helm "The Sound Of Music") Robert Wise was a noted director of powerful crime and boxing dramas that were emphatically not for family viewing. This is one of the best of them. In 110 minutes of real time drama we get an indelible picture of a stubbornly defiant, incorruptible fighter named Stoker Thompson, a man who refuses to "lie down," and thus pays a heavy price which, in a nice ironic twist, is the best thing that could have happened to him. Wise's direction and Art Cohn's script take about a half hour to get going. There's a bit too much with the other fighters, as well as the bloodthirsty audience members in the first act, designed to let us know that the film makers are anti boxing, but which distract us from the more interesting personality of Thompson; quiet but not too quiet, intense but also able to smile, a loving husband and a dreamer. However, once Thompson gets into the ring with his opponent and moral opposite, Nelson, wonderfully played by veteran character actor Hal Fieberling, who specialized in street punks and gunsels, the film finds its rhythm and you're hooked until the end. Of course, the biggest reason this film works is Robert Ryan, an actor best known for playing psychos and bigots, but who scores big time as a hero, bringing to his character of Thompson both authenticity and likability. He definitely should have gotten an Oscar nomination. Also good is Audrey Totter, who tones down the schmaltz as Thompson's adoring, worried wife. Let's give it an A minus. P.S. I would bet the house that this is the only boxing movie to be based on a poem.

  • The Set-up

    • Dashiell B.
    • 4/10/13

    One of the best boxing films ever made. With his background as a boxer, Ryan was born to play an over-the-hill boxer who ultimately suffers when he refuses to fall during a crooked match. The film uses real-time to create suspense and the photography makes the dark side of the sport emerge. A great film noir. I give it a 4.5/5.

  • Read the book!

    • Robert Allyn
    • 4/10/13

    The movie is well done, but not as powerful as the book of the same name by Frederick Moncure March. See the movie, then read the book. Ir will be worth your time.

  • Brilliant in Every Way

    • muriel
    • 4/9/13

    Terrific ensemble, great acting by everyone. Raging Bull is a good movie, but this is still the best boxing movie.Robert Ryan was a champion boxer all through college, so he knew what he was doing. Is there anyone better than Robert Ryan? I don't think so. And What A Hunk!

  • THE SET-UP

    • Joe Drobney
    • 11/12/10

    EXCELLENT...WELL WORTH YOUR VIEWING TIME...ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE A FAN OF ROBERT RYAN AND GRITTY, BLACK AND WHITE FILM ATMOSPHERE. FOR CAMERA ANGLES AND OVERALL "FEEL", THINK ....THE THIRD MAN, ASPHALT JUNGLE, OR TOUCH OF EVIL....STRIPPED DOWN AND BASIC...THE ACTUAL HIGHLIGHT OF THE FIGHT SCENES IS THE QUICK VIEW OF SOME OF THE MOST MEMORABLE "MOVIE" FIGHT FANS...EVER. THIS IS THE TRUE "UNDERSIDE" OF BOXING....CROWDED COMMUNAL DRESSING ROOMS AND CORRUPT MANAGERS, AND PROMOTERS...AND IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL, A NICE LITTLE LOVE STORY...ROBERT, THIS FILM NEEDS TO BE SHOWN ON A MUCH MORE REGULAR BASIS.

  • Outstanding Movie!

    • Kevin
    • 8/14/10

    I just watched it last night for the first time and had to tell my family after wards what a great movie it was. The boxing scenes look so real you feel like you are in the crowd watching. I plan to buy this and add it to my collection. Thanks TCM for showing this gem.

  • Set Up is a Main Event!

    • Robert Borgstrom
    • 7/27/09

    A solid story-line, well acted, well directed with, notwithstanding the obvious studio work of its era, a realistic "prize fighting" environment and one of the best fight sequences I've seen on film.

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