Requiem for a Heavyweight is about a washed-up boxer who disgraces himself and ruins his career by taking a dive. In the unbearably pathetic last scene, the boxer appears, made up as an “Indian chief,” and starts dancing around the ring. We realize that he has descended to professional wrestling.
Having lost everything else, he has now lost his self-respect; no longer a fighter, he has become a clown. Forty years after I saw that teleplay, recalling “Big Chief Mountain Rivera” still gets me choked up.
I wonder what made me think of that scene? Could it have been another, more recent, made-for-TV event?
Update I’m told my memory of the tele-play is way wide of the mark. I seem to have commingled the plot of Requiem with that of On the Waterfront.