4 May 2004 | mattbcoach
Even Better then the Movie
After young Rod Serling's Playhouse 90 hit "Patterns" became a household word, he went into a drought in terms of commercial success. This was before his "Twilight Zone" days. Eventually, Serling felt a strong urge to prove to the public that "Patterns" was not all he had. "Requiem for a Heavyweight" proved that Rod still had plenty of great writing in him. Former Army Divisional Bantamweight boxing champ Serling writes a story of incredible sensitivity and depth. Unlike many boxing movies, there were no real boxing scenes or action scenes in this one. The story is all about an aging, former Heavyweight fringe contender who has just been butchered in a bout by an up and comer. After the fight the ring doctor examines him and says "thats it. No More". How would any of us handle being told that? Especially when Boxing is all you have done. The Boxer, Mountain McClintock, played with great depth by former boxer Jack Palance, is unsure which direction his life is going to take. After the Doctor leaves the dressing room, Mountain is told by his Manager, Maish (Very well played by Keenan Wynn) that hes through. "Why?", says Mountain. "You got old, kid" says Maish. "Old? Doesnt everybody get old?" replies McClintock. McClintock's difficult attempts to find himself, and the troubles of his manager, create perhaps the finest teleplay ever seen. Understand that this was a LIVE performance. Performed in front of TV cameras and immediately beamed into people's homes. That was the norm in those early days of Television It was like watching a live play in your livingroom. No second takes. Despite this, flubs are few and far between.
How Mountain, his Manager, and his cutman (played by Keenan Wynn's dad, Ed) face their problems and conflicts is just what great drama is all about.