REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT

(1962)
With Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney, Julie Harris
Directed by Ralph Nelson
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

    REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT tells the tale of a pathetic washed-up boxer who is exploited by his debt-ridden manager.  It doesn't sound like much, but with a beautiful screenplay by Rod Serling (adapted from his own teleplay), and outstanding central performances by Anthony Quinn as the boxer and Jackie Gleason as the manager, REQUIEM manages to be engrossing and heartbreaking from the first frame to the last.  Quinn gives an achingly sad performance as the punch-drunk pugilist Mountain Rivera, while Gleason has rarely been better as Maish, Mountain's ultra-sleazy manager.  Mickey Rooney as Mountain's trainer and Julie Harris as a social worker offer solid support, but this is Quinn and Gleason's show all the way. As John Candy's Steve Roman character once said: "Good actors, and that spells 'good acting!'" 4 - JB

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