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The Set-Up (2004)

Robert Ryan , Audrey Totter , Robert Wise  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias, Alan Baxter, Wallace Ford
  • Directors: Robert Wise
  • Writers: Art Cohn, Joseph Moncure March
  • Producers: Dore Schary, Richard Goldstone
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: July 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 73 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000244EZ6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,554 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Set-Up" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Over-the-hill boxer Stoker Thompson thinks he can still win a bout despite doubts from his wife and his manager. He goes into his next fight determined to beat his opponent not realizing his manager has taken money from a tough gambler for having Stoker take a dive. Played out in real time.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA UPC: 053939674828

This riveting, gut-punching boxing picture plays out in something close to "real time." We are locked in with an over-the-hill pug (Robert Ryan) as he arrives at an arena for a match against a younger opponent. What he doesn't know yet is that his crooked manager has agreed to throw the fight for some gangsters--so Ryan has more than one battle on his hands as each bruising round goes by. At a lean, mean 72 minutes, The Set-Up manages to load the essential film noir themes into one potent package, excitingly delivered with no breathing room. Director Robert Wise would go on to make such mega-productions as The Sound of Music, which only makes you appreciate his economy here. And the movie's a fine showcase for tall, craggy Robert Ryan, one of the great under-sung actors in American movies, who was a boxer himself before becoming an actor. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Wise's Masterpiece December 3, 2004
THE SET-UP is probably the least known, and maybe the best, of the trio of boxing movies to come in the late 1940s. The other two, of course, are BODY AND SOUL and THE CHAMPION.

Unlike those fine movies THE SET-UP'S protagonist, boxer Robert Ryan, isn't a young pug riding his fists of stones to fame and fortune. He's a thirty-five year old fighter caught somewhere in the last round of an undistinguished career, a nobody on the bottom of a fight card in Paradise City. About all he's got left to dream about is squeezing enough out of whatever remains of his career to buy a cigar stand. His loving wife, Audrey Trotter, has had her fill of seeing him beat up. One more win, Ryan tells her, and I'll be in line for a rematch and a payoff big enough to afford....

Like the other boxing movies, Ryan's fate is in the hands of the big men with fat cigars, the ones who set up a win for an up and coming boxer by setting up a convincing dive by his over-the-hill opponent. Money changes hands. Everyone's in on it except for the guy who's supposed to take the fall, the guy who's one punch away from that cigar stand.

Although THE SET-UP is a highly entertaining movie, it carries a heavy dose of allegorical cynicism. Ryan's character doesn't bother to hide the look of disgust on his face as he surveys the bloodthirsty crowd upon entering the auditorium. Ryan's Everyman has no illusion and the humblest of dreams, unaware that the fat boys with the big cigars have negotiated a foreclosure on it. Ryan, forty at the time this movie was made, was a boxer in college. He's utterly convincing, in and outside the ring.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect "Set-Up" November 23, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Two unscrupulous fight promoters make a deal with an underworld kingpin: their aging client, who's had a run of bad luck in the ring, will throw an upcoming match with the gangster's young protege. There's just one problem ... they don't bother to tell the veteran boxer about the fix, because they plan to keep his share of the pay-off. Needless to say, all hell breaks loose, both in and out of the ring. It's a taut, suspenseful plot and to add to the excitement, the movie takes place in real time: 71 minutes in these characters' lives, unfolding in 71 minutes of screen time.
This tough, gritty little masterpiece offers a superb performance by Robert Ryan as the doublecrossed fighter. Lean, muscled, with a world-weary look on his once-handsome face, Ryan's physical perfection in the role is matched by the economy of his acting style. He's surrounded by an excellent supporting cast; every role, including the various spectators in the arena, is beautifully played. Tightly directed by Robert Wise, "The Set-Up" is a gem, and a perfect example of the film noir genre.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Noir at his best July 21, 2004
By 2739
The Set ? Up Roberta Wisea is in my own opinion one of the best movies ever about boxing and the people in and around the ring. Although It lacks some of the standard film noir elements it nevertheless ranks as one among the best representatives of the genre. Robert Ryan gives a strong and very powerfull performance of a man who is not willing to sell his own honor and fights to the last regardless of consequences. In the fighting scenes he is very convincing, which is not surprising, since while he was in college he was 4 years heavyveight boxing champion. But his greatest momrent in the film comes when he is cornered in the dead-end alley and the four gangsters slowly approach to him. Jou can plainly read all emotions from his face, no word was necessary. Mixing of fear, worrying, desperately looking for some way out but in the same moment he clearly knows there is none. Unforgettable!

Robert Wise, known for his meticulous work, did spend some time with real boxers inside their dressing rooms, and captured very good the atmosphere among them while they are waiting for their own fight. All the worries, loose conversations, just to kill time, anticipation, hopes, expectations, naturalism to the bone, almost as if you watch some documentary. Although story is not a bit complicated, it is even predictable at a moments we should bear in mind that this movie is based on excellent narrative poem of the same title, by Joseph Moncure March.

Another intresting experiment for that time, two years prior to Fred Zinemann's High Noon, is the unfolding of the story in real time. 73 minutes in a liftime of the aged boxer, at the sunset of his career who still hopes that he's just ?one punch away? from fullfilment of his dreams. That one punch he's been waiting for thirty five years.

Truly remarkable movie!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB FILM NOIR FROM ROBERT WISE IS A GREAT DVD! July 6, 2004
By A Customer
Long before television's "24", Robert Wise gave us this 1949 film-noir classic, set in "real-time" against a boxing milieu.
An exceptional performance from Robert Ryan, with great support from a seasoned troupe of film favorites, THE SET-UP will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.
The DVD looks marvelous, the best I have ever seen of this film. It captures the essence of the RKO-noir look, and is genuinely film-like. Don't be swayed by these neophytes who negate a video transfer because it has "age-related artifacts". What hooey! Not every film has to undergo a million dollar digitization to look as good as it did when it was new, and THE SET-UP has surely never looked better!
An added treat are insightful commentary thoughts from the film's director Mr. Wise, and another legendary director who seems to like the movie. Some guy named Marty Scorsese. :)
Grab it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 2 months ago by John J. Wedrall
5.0 out of 5 stars Ryan at his best
Robert Ryan gives one of his better performances (that's saying a lot) as an aging boxer near the end of his career. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Brian
4.0 out of 5 stars the setup
the set up could have been a contender very good plot. nice action really great job seeing what was about to happen from different points of view through the actors involved was... Read more
Published 5 months ago by timothy kasperek
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumph for Robert Ryan.
An awesome film noir with no fat on the running time. Superbly directed by Robert Wise and beautifully acted by Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter and a supporting cast of amazing... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mark Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Another classic movie in great condition. I enjoyed watching this move. The quality of I was great. I am very pleased.
Published 8 months ago by Scott Melesky
5.0 out of 5 stars This film will hit you in the face, follow up with an uppercut and...
Made in 1949, "Set up" is one of greatest masterpieces of film noir! It is a rather short (72 minutes), black and white film made on a shoestring budget with no major stars amongst... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Darth Maciek
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Boxing scene
I own this movie in a previously released film Noir collection. I'll start by saying that films about boxing are my favorite genre of movies. Read more
Published 14 months ago by James Mattis
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular
A very fine film. The first film noir sports movie I've ever seen and it was a knock out. Robert Ryan is outstanding. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A gritty protrayal of human nature
The magnetism of this film makes it difficult for anyone to take their eyes off the screen since the appearance of the very first shot, not even for a second or however... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Ferran Illescas Miranda
5.0 out of 5 stars "The Set-Up (1949) ... Robert Ryan & Audrey Totter ... Robert Wise...
RKO Radio Pictures presents "THE SET-UP" (1949 72 min/B&W) -- Starring: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias, Alan Baxter & James Edwards

Directed by Robert... Read more
Published on September 30, 2011 by J. Lovins
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