“Requiem for a Heavyweight” and current events.
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.
Author: Mark Kleiman
Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out.
Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken)
When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist
Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993)
Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989)
View all posts by Mark Kleiman