Paradise Alley

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Paradise Alley
Paradise alley.jpg
Directed by Sylvester Stallone
Produced by Edward R. Pressman
Written by Sylvester Stallone
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Kevin Conway
Anne Archer
Joe Spinell
Armand Assante
Lee Canalito
Terry Funk
Frank McRae
Joyce Ingalls
Tom Waits
Music by Bill Conti
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • September 22, 1978 (1978-09-22)
Running time
107 min
Country United States
Language English
Box office $7,185,518 (US)[1]

Paradise Alley is a 1978 American sports film written and directed by Sylvester Stallone in his feature film directorial debut, who also starred in the role. After Stallone's success with the 1976 film Rocky. The film tells the story of the three brothers in Hell's Kitchen, New York City in the 1940s who become involved in professional wrestling.

This was the first major film in which Armand Assante appeared. Anne Archer also starred. Joe Spinell, a co-star of Rocky, played the wrestling MC.

A number of professional wrestlers appeared, including Terry Funk as the foil to the hero. Cameos include Ted DiBiase, Bob Roop, Dick Murdoch, Dory Funk Jr., Don Leo Jonathan, Don Kernodle, Gene Kiniski, Dennis Stamp, Ray Stevens, and Uliuli Fifita. Playwright and screenwriter John Monks Jr appeared as Mickey the bartender.

Plot[edit]

Victor, the youngest and largest of the Carboni brothers (Cosmo and Lenny are the other two), becomes a local wrestler (named Kid Salami) at the request of Cosmo, who thinks there is big money to be made.

Lenny agrees to manage his career. They look to Victor to win enough matches so they can get out of Hell's Kitchen for good. (Victor wants to marry his Asian girlfriend and live on a houseboat they plan to buy in New Jersey.)

Each brother has his own style. Cosmo is a hustler and con-artist, always looking for the next easy buck. Lenny is the former war hero, now an undertaker who came back to the neighborhood with a limp and a bitter attitude. Victor is a gawky, strong, dumb yet sincere hulk of a man, who leaves his job hauling ice up tenement stairways once he is persuaded to become a wrestler.

Initially, it is Cosmo that dominates the proceedings, aggressively encouraging Victor to wrestle against the wishes of his girlfriend. Lenny is at first unsure of all this, and constantly tries to warn off Victor, reminding him that he could get hurt.

As the story progresses, the roles begin to reverse. Cosmo becomes concerned for Victor's welfare and feels guilty about getting him into this while Lenny becomes ever more keen to exploit Victor as far as he can. Lenny seems to undergo a complete personality change, losing his cool demeanor and becoming an aggressive, manipulative high roller.

In the end, Victor wins a big wrestling match in a rainstorm and the brothers are reunited.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Sylvester Stallone wrote the story as a novel then a screenplay before he wrote Rocky. He later recalled:

I was very broke and I optioned the screenplay of PARADISE ALLEY to a real… how should I say this… maggot, who put his hooks in so deep I could never get it away from him. So the first time I went in to meet Chartoff and Winkler, I was there on an acting job. I didn’t get it, but on the way out I said, “I have this screenplay called PARADISE ALLEY.” They said to bring it over and I did. They wanted to make it, but the other cretin that I had optioned it to was so obnoxious, so overbearing, that the producers wanted nothing to do with me or the screenplay. So on the way out, they said, “If you have any ideas, we’d be happy to look at them.” That night I went home - even a fire extinguisher couldn’t cool the burning in my brain. The door of opportunity was wide open and I had nothing to carry over its threshold. That’s when I started to write ROCKY. So thank God for the maggot; otherwise I never would’ve written the story of Mr. Balboa.[3]

Reception[edit]

The film was met with mixed to negative reviews. The film currently has a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Paradise Alley". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  2. ^ Fin Martin and Antohy Evans (August 2003). "Know their Roles". Power Slam Magazine (Lancaster, Lancashire, England: SW Publishing Ltd). pp. 26–31. 109. 
  3. ^ [1]

External links[edit]