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Somebody Up There Likes Me – 1956 Wise
- Somebody Up There Likes Me is a biopic of the dramatic life of boxing great Rocky Graziano. It even bears Rocky’s signature before the opening credits (which has the great Perry Como crooning over them with the title song).
- Parts of it were shot in New York and that is a key choice from Robert Wise. When Paul Newman’s Rocky is walking down the street (there is a longer take early with Sal MIneo) it is clear that this is no studio lot.
- The film is best known now as the coming out role (or rather part of his ascent) for Paul Newman. It is Newman’s first archiveable film (but not his debut), and he plays lead (and it is a meaty biopic role with high drama, accent work). The role was intended for James Dean (Clift turned it down as well- so they were certainly looking for a type), who would pass away tragically at the age of 24. This would have reteamed Dean with Mino after Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Newman was already 31 years old, older than Dean, but physically he certainly looks like more of a prizefighter than Dean. There is also a very small role for Steve McQueen a part of Rocky’s gang in New York early in life. So, this is McQueen and Newman’s first archiveable film (small role for a young Robert Loggia as well)—two of the biggest film stars in thew world if you spin this forward ten years. Everett Sloane (one of Welles’ players, Citizen Kane, The Lady from Shanghai), playing Rocky’s manager Irving Cohen comes away winning every scene he’s in.
- It would win best art direction and cinematography Oscars (which they would break up b/w and color at the time)- this is black and white.
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1956