Film & Water #89 – The Set-Up

THE FILM & WATER PODCAST

Episode 89: THE SET-UP

Rob welcomes film and comics historian/graphic designer Michael Kronenberg to discuss one of his favorite films, the 1948 boxing classic THE SET-UP, starring Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter!

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7 responses to “Film & Water #89 – The Set-Up

  1. I’ve never seen this movie. But I am an avid TCM viewer so the DVR will be set for the end of the month.

    Hearing you guys talk about the cast and crew made me wonder how I could never have heard about this. As you say, this is a murderers’ row of talent.

    Wise’s filmography is filled with many of my favorite movies. I like Sound of Music. I love West Side Story. I love The Day the Earth Stood Still. I love love The Haunting (that movie scares the crap out of me just with lighting, music, and camera angles). Heck, I even think Star Trek the Motion Picture is underrated. There is no over-arching style to any of these. But they all work.

    (As an aside, he directed Audrey Rose. The ending scared the crap out of me as a kid. Like, freaked me out, clutching sheets, one big goose bump scared. I avoided it because of that but a few years ago I said ‘I’m a grown man. I bet it’s goofy.’ I watched it again and had the same visceral reaction … more from brain memory I think than actual scariness).

    And I had just watched Tension on TCM. Totter is deliciously evil, slinking through that movie like a coral snake. I never really liked the Lady in the Lake premise but she is solid there too!

    Thanks for reviewing this and look forward to watching!

  2. Wow, I really want to see this, and I avoid boxing movies – all that sweaty violence, not for me. But I love a good noir, or any straight drama, and the talent in this one is immense.

    I’ll take a Robert Wise over an ‘auteur’ any day; auteur theory is bunk, no one working in a studio system can have total control over the artwork…. sure, a director can be the guiding hand, and exercise influence in the edit, but unless they’re a puppeteer it’s not possible to get exactly what you want. And Cinema is all the better for it, let’s praise the brilliant designers, composers, actors, studio hands. To Cahiers Du Cinema I give a very Gallic shrug.

    As you and Michael – such a great guest – say, Wise could do anything and that makes him a more valuab creator than a director who makes the same film again and again.

    (And I still have my hand up for The Haunting!)

    1. To Cahiers Du Cinema I give a very Gallic shrug.

      The artiest thing ever said on this podcast.

      I can see what you’re saying about the “auteur” thing, of course, because this is a medium that no one can do all by themselves, with some minor exceptions. I guess when I think of “auteurs” I’m imagining those directors who cannot help but include their own preoccupations in whatever film they are directing. Wise never seemed to have that, he took on each film as it came, on its own terms.

      I’m not particularly interested in boxing myself, outside of my belief that Ali was the greatest athlete who ever lived. But this film is good (and short!) that I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good story, well told.

  3. Add me to the list of those who didn’t know of this film, but is setting the DVR for TCM later this month.

    Oh, and I saw a commercial for Noir Alley last night. Looks very intriguing. I wish TCM would do this more; have host blocks that are more genre specific. I’d love it if they did a classic horror segment like this. And as much as I love old school local Horror Hosts, I’d keep it a bit more legit and classy for TCM.

    Great episode!

    Chris

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