The Set-Up


Crime / Film-Noir / Sport

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 89%
IMDb Rating 7.9 10 7,678


Downloaded times
January 27, 2021



Audrey Totter as Julie
Darryl Hickman as Shanley
Robert Ryan as Stoker
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
667.11 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
73 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.21 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
73 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by telegonus 10 / 10 / 10


This is an awfully hard and brutal movie, produced at the end of the brief, rather high end Dore Schary regime at RKO (1946-48), just prior to Howard Hughes' purchase of the studio, which led to the company's slow, agonizing decline that forced it, or rather its new owners, to close it down ten years later. It's the story of an aging boxer, over the hill but still harboring a measure of optimism, really a sort of pride. In this tragic role Robert Ryan is superb. Tough, compassionate, deeply ethical, realistic, and yet with just enough of the dreamer in him to keep him emotionally afloat, Stoker Thompson represents the best qualities of the so-called common man. In an earlier, more heroic age, he might have been a knight; but alas we do not live in such a time, thus his personal qualities go unnoticed by all but his wife. In this role, Audrey Totter is almost as good as Ryan. Some of her scenes are unforgettable, as when she tears up the ticket to her husband's fight and throws it over the bridge into the steam of an oncoming train; or when she watches a bunch of silly teenagers "play" at boxing with a couple of performing puppets, which at first amuses her, then horrify her when she realizes her own and her husband's fate in this little "play" scene. The film is a masterpiece of design and composition. Director Robert Wise never made a better picture than this. The movie, like High Noon, plays out in real time, and as a result has an air of urgency to it. Adapted from a poem by Joseph Moncure March, which tells essentially the same story, but with the main character a black man, Wise and scenarist Art Cohn take considerable liberties here that purists' might not care for. In the poem the setting is New York, while in the movie it's a tank town called Paradise City, a far cry from New York even if it's in fact less than a hundred miles away, upstate, or in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. The film never makes this clear. Here and there hints are dropped that the setting might be California. It doesn't matter. The Paradise City boxing arena is a place for young guys on their way up and old guys on their way down. It's a million miles from Madison Square Garden, and that's all that counts. The film's settings are beautifully realized; and Milton Krasner's photography is no less brilliant. The central street, all blinking lights, and yet shadowy and black in odd places, is a perfect visual metaphor for the action of the film; while seldom have the denizens of a small city looked more menacing. Men in garish ties and fedoras jostle each other on the sidewalk as they pass by. They are a hard, apathetic breed, and hungry for sensation. Inside the arena we see humanity at its least admirable, as there is an undercurrent of sadism in even the most innocuous-seeming fight fans, such as a blind man ("go for his eyes!). We sense that these people come not so much to see a favorite boxer win as a hapless boxer lose. In the center of all this is Stoker, a man with character surrounded by people who couldn't care less. As his handlers, a porcine, toothpick-chewing Percy Helton, and a thick-witted George Tobias, are superb. In a somewhat smaller role, Edwin Max, in pinstripe suit, with pencil-line mustache's, and what look like three soggy Salada tea bags under each eye, is visually perfect as a small-time something, not even hood, just a guy who runs around and does things for the big guy, played by Alan Baxter, a sort of anti-Stoker, a man without qualities who goes to great lengths to show that he has class and principles, when in fact he has neither. The man is a monster, and he doesn't even have guts. When Stoker punches him in the face he lets his goons do the dirty work. The interior lives of the two main characters in this film suggest an affinity with the humanistic stoicism Hemingway, while the surface is closer to Weegee and Walker Evans. Overall, though, the movie is pure RKO; its courage-in-the-face-of-adversity theme suggests, almost uncannily, this odd man out among the major studios' history and future, and the best qualities of those who worked there.

Reviewed by hitchcockthelegend 8 / 10 / 10

Don't you see Bill? You are always just one punch away.

The Set-Up is directed by Robert Wise and stars Robert Ryan & Audrey Totter. The screenplay was adapted by Art Cohn from a 1928 poem written by Joseph Moncure March. The story (played out in real time) sees Ryan as Stoker Thompson, a 35 year old nearly washed up boxer still trundling around the circuit believing he's still got what it takes to become a champ. In spite of pleas from his fretful wife, Julie (Totter), Stoker gets in the ring with Tiger Nelson (Hal Baylor), a man 12 years younger. Unbeknownst to Stoker, though, his manager Tiny (George Tobias) has struck a deal with underworld gangster Little Boy (Alan Baxter on prime sweaty and icy form) for him to take a dive and let Nelson win. What first struck me the most watching this was just how vile everyone apart from the boxers are. The fighters are actually the only ones with honesty and integrity running through their veins. These guys are the ones with the self respect being a chief issue for them, they are fighting not just for glory, but for a basic human trait. The first half of the film puts us in the boxers changing room as the fighters wait to go out into the ring. Here we see the number of noble pugilists stripped back to reveal either their fears or their blind beliefs - while they in turn wait to see who comes back victorious or defeated. As they chat amongst themselves the atmosphere is palpable and Wise excellently uses cutaways to the excitable and blood thirsty crowd. The impact is to that of a gladiatorial arena and shows the sport to be seedy yet utterly beguiling at the same time. Then it's on to Stoker's fight where Ryan is terrific (he actually boxed for College for 4 years). Thompson is a character so stand up, yet driven by foolish pride, it puts Stallone's Rocky Balboa firmly in the shade, his whole "just one punch away" mantra is truly wonderful and heartfelt and leads to one of those endings that are frustratingly brilliant in its bittersweet closure. The whole fight with Nelson has a beautiful fluidity about it (former pro boxer John Indrisano choreographed it), with Milton R. Krasner's photography keeping it grim and humanistic - both in the ring and out on the darkly lit L.A. streets as Totter's conflicted wife ponders a potential battering for her stoic husband. Boosted up by a towering performance from Ryan, and dripping with a film noir sense of desolation, The Set-Up is a simple but powerful boxing gem. A film that gets down to the nitty-gritty of the fighters and the seedy people that surround them. 9/10

Reviewed by Nazi_Fighter_David 8 / 10 / 10

One of the most brilliant little films noirs of the Forties that evokes a brilliant feeling for time and place

Evoking so accurately the seedy, down-at-heel world of the professional boxer, "The Set Up" is right1y regarded as probably the best boxing film ever made… It was shot in black and white, as was the only other film on the sport to equal it, "Raging Bull" (1980), but the scene of Robert Ryan as the washed-up prize fighter refusing to take a fall and seen slugging it out with Hal Fieberling, nonetheless captures the merciless, stark, brutal quality of the film and its subject… This was one of Ryan's best roles and no doubt the fact that he had held his college heavyweight boxing title for four years enabled him to bring an even greater sense of authenticity to the part… It also provided Robert Wise with his directorial breakthrough after a period of routine B pictures, and won the Critics' Prize at the 1950 Cannes Film Festival

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