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Film / The Set-Up

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Stoker refuses to go down.
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The Set-Up (1949) is a film noir directed by Robert Wise, starring Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter.

Bill 'Stoker' Thompson (Ryan) is an over-the-hill boxer intent on making a name for himself. His manager, however, has other ideas. Namely, that he loses this fight so he can make a quick buck from the gangster Little Boy (Alan Baxter).

Stoker's wife Julie (Totter) wants him to give up the ring, but Thompson is determined to win the fight against Tiger Nelson (Hal Baylor)– set up or not.


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Tropes:

  • Bittersweet Ending: Stoker wins the fight, but his punching hand has been permanently broken. His dreams are gone, but Julie is there for him.
  • Chiaroscuro: From the classic era of film noir.
  • The Determinator: Even when Stoker is told the truth and that he's supposed to throw the fight, he's determined to win.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The whole plot of the film happens in one evening.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Stoker's hand is stomped by Little Boy and his cronies.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Stoker KO's Tiger fair and square. His manager, realizing the set-up has been blown, runs out of the arena.
  • Sports Stories: The story of a washed up boxer trying to live his dream.
  • Wretched Hive: The city where Stoker and Julie are staying for his fight is full of gin joints and dives.

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