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As crisp and fluid as a boxer's footwork, Robert Wise's editing turns a lightweight script into the heavy-hitting drama "The Set Up." Art Cohn's screenplay is a very Hollywood adaptation of a 1928 poem by Joseph Moncure March. The poem is a shot to the gut--a powerful meditation on race that shows a black American is never in for a fair fight. The 1949 screenplay is the flyweight story of a down and out white fighter who thinks he's one punch away from glory. But Robert Wise and Robert Ryan prove that any story, when told masterfully, can pack a punch. The whole gritty-grimy world is boiled down to one arena, and one man's fight with fate becomes the story of us all. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.
Direct download: OOTP_2006_03_01_TS.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 5:01 AM
Comments[7]

  • It has been so gratifying going through and either seeing for the first time or revisiting Film Noir titles along with you and your archive shows. I was sort of struggling to see how it was that "The Set-up" satisfied the thematic requirements of Noir? thanks again.

    posted by: Jack on 2012-01-07 16:09:59

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  • It\'s Audrey TOTTER - not Trotter!

    posted by: Nancy on 2009-01-25 19:47:00

  • The film\'s simply the work of a master, no question. In the first few minutes there are several subtle foundations laid, establishing an underlying theme, and I for one was a bit disappointed not to hear them pointed out on the DVD commentary. The older newspaper vendor, after being overshadowed by a younger version, says something, a line along the lines of - I gotta earn a buck too. The ever-hopeful player on the old carny game. A swinging arm dips in and alllllmost grabs the prize. He fails. Yet can\'t let go of hope. Comes back again to try and beat the fixed game. What a movie! So much understatement, so many outstanding scenes and of course, such great use of light and shadow in the ending sequences. Noir. Nothing like it.

    posted by: Dale on 2010-05-22 23:05:00

  • Sorry, I have to weigh in on a nitpicky way on the whole Tiresias thing. There was one occasion when Tiresias was indeed bloodthirsty: when Odysseus goes down to Hades to consult him, and the only way that the lethe-drunk spirits of the Underworld can remember themselves is by an offering of blood. I certainly did not think of any of that while watching the film, but I suppose you could argue that Totter is Penelope-like in being tempted but remaining true...

    posted by: From the docks of Greenpoint on 2008-05-01 19:48:00

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