Robert Ryan at Film Forum (Aug 12-25)

by on August 12, 2011Posted in: Essay

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Friday Editor’s Pick: The Set-Up (1949)

by on August 5, 2011Posted in: Editor's Pick

Playing Fri Aug 12 & Sat Aug 13 at 2:40, 5:45, 8:50 at Film Forum [Program & Tix]


Cinephiles have been grumbling about an overdue retrospective of actor Robert Ryan for some time now, and Film Forum delivers with a two-week commemoration running August 12 – 25. This underknown “real-time” boxing picture, cited frequently by Martin Scorsese as a major inspiration (so much so he had to consciously avoid copying it in Raging Bull), kicks off the series, on a double-bill with one of Ryan’s great evil turns in Crossfire (1947).


Make sure to read Imogen Smith’s essay on Ryan for Alt Screen.
Manohla Dargis in her feature for the Film Forum series, in The New York Times:

Ryan made “The Set-Up,” one of his favorites and most indelible films, two years later. Directed by Robert Wise (who had edited “Citizen Kane”), “The Set-Up” is a tight, intensely moving, pocket-size masterwork about Stoker Thompson, a washed-up, 35-year-old heavyweight who believes he’s just “one punch away” from changing his lousy luck. Part redemption story, part romance (his wife is played by Audrey Totter), the film unfolds in close to real time and takes place in the cruelly named Paradise City. Ryan, all muscle, sinew and heart-rending longing, slugs through one punishing round after another — look for the photographer Weegee hitting the bell as the timekeeper — creating a portrait of a man who endures ghastly physical punishment on his way to redemption.


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