The Harder They Fall 1956

Humphrey Bogart puts in a great performance  in  “The Harder They Fall” (1956)-  a stunning indictment of the boxing profession.

 

The film also marks Humphrey Bogart’s final film performance. Here he plays  a former sports writer turned publicist along  with Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling and Mike Lane (as the giant Argentinian boxer)

 

Mike Lane

 

Mike Lane ABOVE – having a joke with the make-up artists.

 

In addition to Bogart’s  performance, Rod Steiger plays a corrupt manager. Their scenes together are really well done, and very well written.

 

There is one particular gripping  scene when, after the big fight where Bogart presses to find out how much their fighters will ultimately end up with, after getting so badly beaten in the ring.

 

The tension in the film derives from the ultimate conflict between Bogart’s decency and Steiger’s willingness to exploit. The two had great on screen chemistry in their scenes together. They employed very different acting styles, Steiger being one of the first Method actors to enjoy success in films whilst  Bogart was strictly old school, but he not only held his own, he dominated their scenes together.

 

The Harder They Fall

 

ABOVE – this shot just sums up the brutality depicted in this film

 

 

The Harder They Fall 2

 

Humphrey Bogart and Rod Steiger ABOVE trade verbal fisticuffs ABOVE.

 

I watched much of this film today on Talking Pictures ‘The Harder They Fall was released on 31 March 1956.

Two months before this in January Humphrey Bogart had been having trouble swallowing and eating and sought medical advice. He was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent a long operation soon afterwards. It was not completely successful and the cancer returned.

He died at his home on 15 January 1957 aged 57 – he was born on Christmas Day 1899.

When he died he weighed just 6 and a half stone

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