Rod Serling's poignant portrait of the sunset of a prizefighter has lost some of its dramatic weight in the transition from the very small to the very large screen. However, it still packs considerable punch as a character study, although its action has slowed to where the plot padding is often obvious.

Rod Serling’s poignant portrait of the sunset of a prizefighter has lost some of its dramatic weight in the transition from the very small to the very large screen. However, it still packs considerable punch as a character study, although its action has slowed to where the plot padding is often obvious.

Some of the casting, no doubt done for authenticity and atmosphere, has boomeranged. Julie Harris plays her employment counselor as though she never really believed in the character. Casting actual boxing personalities is atmospheric but distracting and often ludicrous, particularly an amateurish bit by Jack Dempsey.

The performances of Quinn and Gleason are equally matched and carry the picture, no small chore. Quinn’s punchy, inarticulate behemoth is so painfully natural that one winces when he feels pain, whether to his body or his feelings. Gleason is amazingly fine. He’s weak, crafty, shiftly and still a little pathetic.

Mickey Rooney, hampered with some bad makeup, is warm and sympathetic as Army, the trainer, but doesn’t really shine except for one card-playing scene. It’s the only funny bit in the pic and he steals it from under Gleason’s nose. The plot contains some glaring implausibilities.

Requiem for a Heavyweight

Production

Columbia. Director Ralph Nelson; Producer David Susskind; Screenplay Rod Serling; Camera Arthur J. Ornitz; Editor Carl Lerner; Music Laurence Rosenthal; Art Director Burr Smidt

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1962. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Anthony Quinn Jackie Gleason Mickey Rooney Julie Harris Stanley Adams Cassius Clay
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