Boxing on the big screen

by
 Boxing on the big screen
 Boxing on the big screen

 Boxing on the big screen

by
 Boxing on the big screen
 Boxing on the big screen

“After the discovery of photography, at the end of the 19th century, an exciting race is undertaken to obtain a device that captures and exhibits moving images. The first findings astonish the public and, very soon, the followers of the new invention show their preferences about the subjects to be watched. Among the first ones are boxing matches” (“Boxing in the cinema 1894-1994”, by the Spanish writer Pablo Mérida).

We start from the premise exposed by Mérida in the lead of this article to undertake a fleeting and incomplete walk about the presence of boxing -the most controversial sport discipline, vilified by the least, defended by the most- in the industry of the so-called Seventh Art (cinema, for those who arrived late) and also the discipline that has been taken to the Big Screen of all the activities in the sports performed by man almost since the origins of humanity on Earth.

In this regard, did you know tuhat, out of 8 films about sports that have won at least one Oscar, 5 of them are about boxing? Such films are, barring error or omission: “The Champ” (“The Champ”, 1931), “The Hustler”( Best Black and White Cinematography and Art Direction, 1961), “Rocky I” (film, direction and editing, by Silvester Stallone, 1976), Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” (“Raging Bull”, Best Editing and with which Robert De Niro was Best Actor, 1980), “Chariots of Fire” (from Olympic Games, 1982), “Million Dollar Baby” (“Golpes del destino”, in Spanish, Best Director to Clint Eastwood, 2004) and “A Possible Dream” (American Football, Best Actress to Sandra Bullock and Best Picture, 2009).

Additionally, did you know that Thomas Alva Edison, the most prolific inventor in the world’s history with about a thousand inventions, among them the phonograph, the incandescent light bulb (actually he only perfected it), the dictaphone and the kinetoscope, was a fundamental factor for the beginnings and progress of cinema, created by the French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumiere, some fifteen years before the 20th century?

A third question and we will stop asking you: Do you know who is the athlete who, throughout history, has shown on film the fortunes and misfortunes of an exciting life like few others, in this and in the last century? Yes. The very one you are thinking of: Muhammad Ali, The Greatest (born Cassius Marcellus Clay in Louisville, Kentucky on January 17, 1942, died in -Scottsdale, Arizona, on 6/26/2016).

Indeed, the controversial character’s career has been brought to the Big Screen, if I am not mistaken, in 10 films (documentary biographies and feature films) that we quote below, somewhat in chronological disorder:

1) The Fighter (The Fight, 1971), film account of the fight of 8/3/1971 at Madison Square Garde, NY, SG, the first of three between Ali and Joe Frazier, in which the latter won by decision in 15 rounds and knocked down the undefeated Muslim, who was seeking to regain the belt lost 4 years earlier due to his refusal to go to war.

In two fights later, MA won by DU and KOT14; 2) Muhammad Ali, The Greatest, 1977; 3) When We Were Kings, about the fight of 10/30/74 in Kinshasa, Africa, in which Ali surprised the boxing world with a KOT8 to George Foreman and reconquered the heavyweight title for the third time. Apart from them, the promoter Don King, the dictator Mobutu Cese Seco, the trainer Angelo Dundee, and the hideout Drew “Bundini” Brown, creator of the “Fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee”, among others. 4) Body and Soul, 1981; 5) Ali, An American Hero, 2000; 6) Ali, 2004 with Will Smith in the role of the legendary boxer and Oscar nominee for Best Actor; 7) Through the Eyes of the World, Muhammad Ali, 2001; 8) Facing Ali; 9) The Traails, Muhammad Ali and 10) I Am Ali, 2014.

There is still a long way to go. We promise to continue and close the story in a few days, that is next week.


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