- John Huston’s bleak Fat City opens with longer take observing Stacy Keach (as Tully) in his depressing, tiny jail cell of an apartment. This is Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt and in that Huston is telling us all about this character from this shot without dialogue. He cannot find a cigarette, the place is a disaster, there is bourbon on the nightstand and holes in his underwear. Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through the Night” makes for a perfect accompaniment.
- The writing is from Leonard Gardner based off his own novel. When Tully meets Ernie (the young, handsome Jeff Bridges)—Ernie says, “I saw you fight once.” Tully retorts, “Did I win?”… “No” says Ernie. This down and out mood piece fits perfectly in early 1970s American cinema. There are details so rich—like when a fighter hands his bloody trunks to another fighter after his fight (both are trained by the same manager- all on the lower wrung of society).
- Keach plays an ex-fighter—but he looks like Karl Malden- not Marlon Brando.
- Another in a long line of Huston two-handers- somewhere between The African Queen in 1951 and The Man Who Would be King in 1975.
- Nicholas Colasanto plays Ruben the trainer—he’s also in Raging Bull. He could be doing stand up comedy with some of his schtick in this film.
- The arc of the two characters is masterfully orchestrated as well- these characters meet by chance (separated by maybe only 10 years- but a lot of milage) to begin the film, and meet by chance to end the film as well- at a crossroads.
- A freeze frame at the coffee shop catching Tully in mid thought
- Highly Recommend- top 10 of the year quality.
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