Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Requiem for a Heavyweight

Following a thorough beating in the ring (administered by a then named Cassius Clay), doctors, a loyal trainer (Mickey Rooney), and a kindly social worker (Julie Harris) try to convince a feeble-minded, brute (Anthony Quinn) that his boxing career is over. However his manipulative, disreputable manager concocts a humiliating plan to keep him in the ring in order to pay off his gambling debts. "Requiem for a Heavyweight" is a doleful and well drawn film from Rod Serling, who adapted his own teleplay (which originally featured Jack Palance), which is as dark and ironic as any of his "Twilight Zone" episodes. Quinn is excellent, although his character makes Rocky Balboa seem like an elocutionist and he receives fine support from veterans Rooney and Gleason. In addition to the cameo by Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey also appears in a notable cameo.