Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)
May 28, 2016 5:16 PM - Subscribe

Mountain Rivera, a punchy has-been managed by the unprincipled Maish, is mauled in a fight and forced to quit boxing. Can his devoted cutman and a sympathetic social worker help him find a life outside the ring, or will Maish find a way to exploit him one more time?

NYTimes: No knockout, this new film version of Rod Serling's highly praised work is a serious incisive drama that pulls no punches in its low-keyed exposure of its pitiable has been hero and the sleazy, harried sidekicks who share his sweat-stained and blood-stained world.

In making the jump from the small to the large screen, Mr. Serling and Ralph Nelson, who directed the original and is making his movie debut with "Requiem," necessarily have invited comparisons, odious though they may be. They have, to put it briefly, filled out certain areas of the TV version and changed a few others.

What remains still retains the basic, unrelenting honesty of Mr. Serling's theme—the terrible loneliness and tragic confusion of the rootless at the end of a rocky, if occasionally triumphant, road. And it glaringly reveals the shockingly seamy trade that uses people callously and wastefully. While this heavyweight does not emerge as a figure as poignant and striking as his predecessor the film nevertheless hits hard and uncompromisingly at man's inhumanity to man.

Variety: 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.



Culture Vulture article re teleplay
posted by MoonOrb (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Fans of Requiem for a Heavyweight may want to check out The Man in the Funny Suit (the whole thing is on Youtube), a 1960 TV drama about the difficult production of the original TV version. It features Jack Palance, Keenan and Ed Wynn and even Rod Serling, all playing themselves. It's not quite in the same league as RFAH, but it's pretty good stuff in its own right. (Hosted by Desi Arnaz!)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:41 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

The TV version is on YouTube too. It's actually the only version that I've seen, I should catch the movie version.
posted by octothorpe at 5:08 AM on May 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oddly, the TV version has an optimistic ending and the movie has a pessimistic one. Seems like it's usually the other way around, for some reason (e.g. "The Bad Seed"). I always thought Mickey Rooney more or less walked away with the film.
posted by holborne at 9:26 AM on June 1, 2016

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