Requiem for a Heavyweight

Q is for Quinn
Screening on Film
Directed by Ralph Nelson.
With Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney.
US, 1962, 35mm, black & white, 85 min.
Print source: HFA

Six years after Jack Palance brilliantly essayed the character of Mountain Rivera on television’s “Playhouse 90,” Anthony Quinn took on the role of the battered boxer for this big-screen adaptation of Rod Serling’s Emmy-winning teleplay. As the film begins, Rivera, a veteran of seventeen years in the ring, is beaten senseless by a younger, faster opponent (played by Cassius Clay, soon to be Muhammed Ali). Age and the physical punishment of the sport have taken their toll, but Rivera lacks the money to retire gracefully and his longtime manager (Gleason) suggests he start fighting crooked or switch to professional wrestling.  An unforgettable drama of abiding friendship and the abuse of trust, Quinn, Gleason, and Rooney, as Rivera’s erstwhile trainer, turn in magnificent performances.

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Treasures from the Harvard Film Archive: Actors O–T