A disappointing biopic of Rocky Graziano, East Side delinquent turned World Middleweight Champion. The trouble is that Wise forsakes the terse economy and unpretentious naturalism of The Set-Up for a rather straggling narrative which spends far too long throwing up mildly socially-conscious observations about poverty, and trying to turn the whole thing into a movie with a message about hope and determination. It's still not that bad a film, however. Newman's performance, though inflected by Method mannerisms, is powerful, and Joseph Ruttenberg's photography keeps the atmosphere sleazy and strong. Perhaps the main problem is the fact that it is a biopic, thus demanding an uplifting ending which seems to go against the grain of the romantic pessimism that governs the boxing genre.
Cast and crew
Harold J Stone