Archive for boxing

FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2016 by cdascher

From_Here_to_Eternity_film_posterDid you ever watch a movie and think to yourself “I wonder if severed horseheads played any role in casting decisions?” Probably not, unless the movie in question is 1953’s From Here to Eternity.

From Here to Eternity is the story of several career soldiers in an infantry company stationed in Hawaii during the last days before American involvement in World War II. There is tough First Sergeant Warren (Lancaster), Private Prewitt (Clift), a bugler and former boxer, and his friend Private Maggio (Sinatra). As the company’s commanding officer Captain Holmes has little interest in the company other than as his personal boxing stable for inter-regimental matches; Warren is the person actually running the unit. Noticing that Holmes likewise neglects his wife Karen (Kerr), the first sergeant takes over in that department, too. Meanwhile, Prewitt – a middleweight boxer of some renown – has transferred into the company. Holmes is disappointed when Prewitt states his refusal to box – having blinded a friend in a sparring accident – leading the captain to push the company NCOs to harass him into boxing again. Between punishments, he falls for Lorene (Reed), whom the movie doesn’t specifically identify as a prostitute, but let’s not be stupid.

Perhaps I was stupid – I honestly didn’t assume she was a prostitute. I thought Lorene just kept the company of men, got paid to do so, and gave them the illusion of a relationship without much effort on their parts. Reflecting now, though, I imagine Mouse is right here. I had the criticism of this film that I do of most, especially from this era – the two main women characters were not fully realized or well developed. Karen seemed to have quite a backstory – the loss of a baby, ostensibly coinciding with a neglectful husband, a sexless marriage, and a prior extramartial lover. She seems to hold a sadness that is deep, but we don’t hear enough about what she thinks and feels for my liking. Continue reading

Advertisements

ROCKY (1976)

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2013 by cdascher

rockyI love living in Philadelphia. There’s so much to love here. Cultural districts like the Avenue of the Arts are the pride of the city, connected to neighborhoods by a network of bike lanes. And then there is that Center City skyline. Open the City Paper any given week and you’ll see how much is going on. It’s no wonder movies and TV are regularly filmed in Philly. From The Sixth Sense to Cold Case to Silver Linings Playbook, Hollywood can’t get enough of this town.  The Kimmel Center. The Gayborhood. The Barnes. What makes me appreciate it all the more is that the city I come from had none of this. Now, I certainly have a deep and abiding love for the town I was born in, but it was a place known more for post-War blight and depopulation than anything else. It was a place you move out of, not move to. And just where was this place I grew up in? That would be Philadelphia, of course!

As a native Philadelphian, I’ve tried to explain to my transplant friends is how different the city feels from when I was a lad, when it was the ne’er do well middle child of the I-95 corridor. Even in an outlying middle class neighborhood like where my family lived, there was always a certain ambivalence to our civic outlook. Sure, we loved this place (especially when the Phillies won), but then we looked around and wondered if our best days were behind us. To communicate this to the folks who weren’t around at the time, I always recommend they watch the quintessential Philadelphia Movie: Rocky. In case you’ve never had basic cable, or you’re confusing it with the sequels, the story goes like this. Rocky Balboa, AKA The Italian Stallion, is a nobody boxer who supplements his meager income working as a goon for the neighborhood loan shark; a job where he gets in trouble because he’s too nice to break thumbs. About the only bright spot in his dismal life is a nascent romance with his friend’s excruciatingly shy sister Adrian. When the flamboyant world champion Apollo Creed, decides to give an unknown fighter a shot at the title, essentially as a publicity stunt, guess who he picks. Yes, Rocky, primarily because he likes his name. The odds are so lopsided that no one outside of Balboa’s camp even considers it a real fight. To Rocky this is the one-time chance to earn the respect of everyone, including himself. With Adrian’s support he trains for his big shot.

We were thrilled when we drew this film – me, because I had never seen it, and Mouse, well – see above. I was not expecting a beautiful, shudder-worthy love story though. Fraught, complex, uncomfortable at times – to see two extremely shy, bumbling people begin to get close to one another was absolutely the best part of this movie for me. I also like seeing a film depict a character like Rocky as complex. Sure, he is simple in a lot of ways – but there are moments, these ACHING moments, when you can tell there is a lot going on inside. From

Continue reading