Carnera: The Walking Mountain
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In 1933, Primo Carnera became the first and only Italian to win the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship. He was a man who endured hardships with dignity and triumphs with humility. He was a husband who adored his wife until the day he died and a father who taught his children that, no matter how hard life may sometimes get, giving up is not an option. He led an extraordinary life with extraordinary courage. He had principles and values that were never compromised and that followed him through his professional and personal life, principles and values that he passed on to his children and that will be forever treasured in their hearts.
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Carnera was controlled and exploited by gangsters. They took the bulk of his earnings and made a fortune on bets. They controlled all of his fights except those against major contenders that could not be purchased, such as Baer and Louis. Carnera was left with only a few hundred dollars after his owners and manager were through robbing him blind. He turned to professional wrestling where he made some decent money that he actually was allowed to keep. Carnera is loved by fascists today because he represents the type of compliant and productive victim they dream of.
The movie is a re-animation of the fascist propaganda line under Mussolini that the 6'6" 265lb Ambling Alp was the invincible product produced by combining hard work with an Italian superman (Italy's version of Max Schmeling. Joe Louis knocked them both out, making him a type of human kryptonite). The truth was he was a mediocre, muscle-bound fighter, who didn't have the skill, speed, and reflexes required to be a great fighter.
The movie falsely portrays Max Baer (now famous as the champion that lost to the "Cinderella Man") as a dirty fighter who beat Carnera largely because Carnera played by the rules. Nothing could be further from the truth. Baer was one of the hardest punchers of all time. He wound up and cracked Da Preem square on the chin in the first round. Carnera never recovered and was knocked down eleven times during the massacre, which was exactly what you would expect to see when matching a big piece of meat, like a professional wrestler, e.g., which Carnera later successfully became, against a real fighter like Baer.
At the end of the movie there is a fictional quote supposedly made by Carnera espousing his fictional view that his career was an example of what hard work and dedication can do. In fact, Carnera's career is a historical example of what vicious exploitation by racketeers can do, a lesson to be learned by those in all walks of life, not just fighters and sports figures. Here is a real quote by Carnera, given shortly before his death:
"Life has a way of evening things up. Where are those greedy vultures now? They were either killed by their own kind or put in jail. Some of them became little better than beggars and panhandlers. All that money. What good do it do any of them?" -"The World Heavyweight Boxing Championship", by John McCallum.
For a much more accurate biographical depiction of the Carnera crime and exploitation tragedy, see the great "The Harder They Fall", starring Humphrey Bogart (Max Baer even makes a guest appearance).