Combustible Celluloid
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With: Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger, Jan Sterling, Mike Lane, Max Baer Jr., Albert "Poppy" Popwell
Written by: Philip Yordan
Directed by: Mark Robson
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 109
Date: 04/01/1956

The Harder They Fall (1956)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Pug Shots

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Humphrey Bogart appears in his very last film as a down on his luck sportswriter who takes a job as a press agent for a South American giant-turned-fighter, Toro (Mike Lane). The guy can't punch at all, but Bogey and Rod Steiger fix a series of fights in order to get Toro a shot at the championship. Trouble eventually sets in when Toro must face the honest-to-goodness champ. Fairly gritty and potent for its time, director Mark Robson (The Seventh Victim) delivers some terrifically brutal fight footage; at one point he shows us a realistic "documentary" about a retired fighter whose brains are so scrambled that he can't even get a real job. Sometimes the picture veers off track into preachiness, but all in all, it's a solid film. Columbia/TriStar's DVD ($24.95) comes with a lovely black-and-white transfer and trailers.

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