Day of the Fight

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Day of the Fight
Day of the Fight title.jpg
title card
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Produced by Stanley Kubrick
Jay Bonafield (uncredited)
Written by Robert Rein
(narration)
Stanley Kubrick
Starring Walter Cartier
Vincent Cartier
Narrated by Douglas Edwards
Music by Gerald Fried
Cinematography Stanley Kubrick
Alexander Singer
Edited by Julian Bergman
Stanley Kubrick (uncredited)
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • April 26, 1951 (1951-04-26)
Running time 16 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget US$3900

Day of the Fight is a 1951 American short subject documentary film shot in black-and-white and also the first picture directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick financed the film himself, and it is based on an earlier photo feature he had done as a photographer for Look magazine in 1949. [1][2]


Story[edit]

Day Of The Fight shows Irish-American middleweight boxer Walter Cartier during the height of his career, on the day of a fight with black middleweight Bobby James, which took place on April 17, 1950.

The film opens with a short section on boxing's history, and then follows Cartier through his day, as he prepares for the 10 P.M. bout that night. He eats breakfast in his West 12th Street apartment in Greenwich Village, then goes to early mass and eats lunch at his favorite restaurant. At 4 P.M., he starts preparations for the fight. By 8 P.M., he is waiting in his dressing room at Laurel Gardens in Newark, New Jersey for the fight to begin.

We then see the fight itself, where he comes out victorious in a short match.[3][4][5]

Cast[edit]

  • Douglas Edwards as Narrator (voice only)
  • Walter Cartier as Himself (uncredited)
  • Vincent Cartier as Himself - Walter's twin brother (uncredited)
  • Nat Fleischer as Himself - boxing historian (uncredited)
  • Bobby James as Himself - Walter's opponent (uncredited)
  • Stanley Kubrick as Himself - man at ringside with camera (uncredited)
  • Alexander Singer as Himself -man at ringside with camera (uncredited)
  • Judy Singer as Herself - female fan in crowd (uncredited)

Cast notes[edit]

  • The year after the fight chronicled in Day of the Fight took place, Walter Cartier made boxing history by knocking out Joe Rindone in the first forty-seven seconds of a match (16 October 1951). Cartier had played some bit parts in movies before he appeared in Day of the Fight, and afterwards continued to appear occasionally in movies up until 1971, but he was most successful playing mild-mannered Private Claude Dillingham on the sitcom The Phil Silvers Show for the 1955-1956 season.[6]
  • Alexander Singer was a high school friend of Stanley Kubrick's (they went to William Howard Taft High School in the Bronx), who acted as assistant director and a camerman for this film. He also worked on Kubrick's Killer's Kiss and The Killing, and went on to have a long career as a director of hour-long TV dramas.[7]
  • Douglas Edwards, who narrated Day of the Fight was a veteran radio and television newscaster. At this time, he was the anchor for the first daily television news program, on CBS, which would later be called Douglas Edwards with the News, and then The CBS Evening News. Edwards was replaced by Walter Cronkite in 1962, but remained a noted voice on CBS Radio news programs until he retired in 1988.[8]


A shot from Day of the Fight (1951)

Production[edit]

Kubrick and Alexander Singer used daylight-loading Eyemo cameras that take 100-foot spools of 35mm black-and-white film to shoot the fight, with Kubrick shooting hand-held (often from below) and Singer's camera on a tripod. The 100-foot reels required constant reloading, and when the knock-out punch which ended the bout came, Kubrick didn't catch it because he was reloading. Fortunately, Singer did.[5]

Day of the Fight is the first credit on composer Gerald Fried's resume. Fried, a childhood friend of Stanley Kubrick, went on to score or conduct (or both) over 100 films.[9] In 1977, he shared an Emmy Award with Quincy Jones for the music for the TV mini-series Roots, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1976 for Birds Do It, Bees Do It.[10]

Although the original planned buyer of the picture went out of business, Kubrick was able to sell Day of the Fight to RKO Pictures for $4,000, making a small benefit of $100 above the $3,900 cost of making the film.[11]

According to Jeremy Bernstein (http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/11/27/jeremy-bernstein-stanley-kubrick-interview/?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffer8c995&utm_medium=twitter) the film lost $100 as documented in this 11/27/1965 voice recording of interview with Stanley Kubric: (http://soundcloud.com/brainpicker/a-rare-interview-with-stanley).

Day of the Fight was released as part of RKO-Pathé's "This Is America" series and premiered on 26 April 1951 at New York's Paramount Theater, on the same program as the film My Forbidden Past. Frank Sinatra headlined the live stage show that day.[12]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Prizefighter", Look (January 18, 1949)
  2. ^ Niemi, Robert (2006), Day of the Fight (1951), History in the Media: Film and Television (ABC-Clio): 194 
  3. ^ Marc-David Jacobs IMDB Plot Summary
  4. ^ IMDB Filming Locations
  5. ^ a b Jeff Stafford "The Day of the Fight" (TCM article)
  6. ^ IMDB Walter Cartier
  7. ^ IMDB Alexander Singer
  8. ^ IMDB Douglas Edwards (I)
  9. ^ IMDB Gerald Fried
  10. ^ IMDB Awards for Gerald Fried
  11. ^ Joseph Gelmis "An Interview With Stanley Kubrick (1969), excerpted from The Film Director as Superstar New York: Doubleday, 1970.
  12. ^ IMDB Trivia

External links[edit]