Day of the Fight

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Day of the Fight
Day of the Fight title.jpg
title card
Directed byStanley Kubrick
Produced byStanley Kubrick
Jay Bonafield (uncredited)
Written byRobert Rein
(narration)
Stanley Kubrick
StarringWalter Cartier
Vincent Cartier
Narrated byDouglas Edwards
Music byGerald Fried
CinematographyStanley Kubrick
Alexander Singer
Edited byJulian Bergman
Stanley Kubrick (uncredited)
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release date
  • April 26, 1951 (1951-04-26)
Running time
12 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$3,900

Day of the Fight is a 1951 American short subject documentary film directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick financed the film himself.

Shot in black-and-white, the film 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 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 Kubrick did not catch the knock-out punch which ended the bout because he was reloading. Singer did, however.[5]

Day of the Fight is the first credit on composer Gerald Fried's resume. Kubrick did not pay him for his work on the film. "He thought the very fact that my doing the music" for the film "got me into the profession was enough payment", Fried told The Guardian in 2018 conceding that Kubrick's point was accurate. Fried, a childhood friend of Kubrick, later wrote the score for the director's Paths of Glory (1957) and three other films [9]

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.[10]

According to Jeremy Bernstein,[11] the film lost $100, as documented in a November 1965 interview[12] with Kubrick.

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.[13]

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, p. 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. ^ Alberge, Dalya (October 20, 2018). "Stanley Kubrick never paid for my early work as a composer, childhood friend reveals". The Guardian. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  10. ^ Joseph Gelmis "An Interview With Stanley Kubrick (1969), excerpted from The Film Director as Superstar New York: Doubleday, 1970.
  11. ^ http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/11/27/jeremy-bernstein-stanley-kubrick-interview/
  12. ^ https://soundcloud.com/brainpicker/a-rare-interview-with-stanley
  13. ^ IMDB Trivia

External links[edit]