Combustible Celluloid
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With: Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrrell, Candy Clark
Written by: Leonard Gardner, based on his own novel
Directed by: John Huston
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 96
Date: 07/26/1972

Fat City (1972)

4 Stars (out of 4)

It Happened One Fight

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

John Huston (The Maltese Falcon, The Dead) crafted one of his very best films with this grungy story of an aging, drunken boxer (Stacy Keach) and a fresh-faced young one (Jeff Bridges), neither of them any great shakes. They meet for the first time at the 'Y' and Bridges gets in a few good punches during a sparring match. Keach sends him to a proper gym and trainer to get his career started.

Meanwhile, Keach takes up with a whiny barfly, superbly played by the Oscar-nominated Susan Tyrrell, and brags about his big comeback while sitting around in bars. Bridges also meets a sweet young thing and continues boxing but without much fanfare.

Huston really gets the flavor of Stockton, CA, and with its run-down drinking establishments, sleazy gyms, and bad coffee joints. Fat City is one of the few boxing films that does not take place at the top, but rather at the bottom, focusing on the kind of fighter who doesn't make it and never will.

Columbia/TriStar's DVD comes in both widescreen and the dreaded full-screen editions, with no other extras.

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