The Harder They Fall (1956)

“Powderpuff punch and a glass jaw… that’s a great combination!” Humphrey Bogart’s last film (he passed away from esophageal cancer the following year at the age of 57) in which he portrays a cynical, out-of-work sportswriter named “Eddie Willis” who becomes a press agent for boxing racketeer “Nick Benko” (Rod Steiger). Directed by Mark Robson (Champion) and based on a 1947 novel by Budd Schulberg, this film noirish classic (loosely based on the Primo Carnera boxing scandal) is still the harshest indictment of boxing to make its way to the silver screen. It makes Rocky look like a stroll through the Mall of America. The cast includes professional wrestler Mike Lane as “Toro Moreno,” Jan Sterling as “Beth Willis,” Carlos Montalban as “Luis Agrandi” and Jack Albertson as “Pop.” Boxers Jersey Joe Walcott and Max Baer also appear in the film. Don’t confuse this film with The Harder They Come (1972), which starred legendary reggae singer Jimmy Cliff. Carnera and Baer both appeared in the 1933 film The Prizefighter and the Lady, which also starred Myrna Loy and Jack Dempsey.

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