John Huston: Boxing Fan
Southpaw with Jake Gyllenhaal opened in July, Creed with Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone arrives in theatres this Thanksgiving, but coming in between these two dates on Blu-ray is Sony’s new 4K restoration of what film historian David Thomson considers “probably the most honest boxing picture ever made.” Its maker was John Huston, born 99 years ago today. Adapted from his own book by Leonard Gardner, Fat City (1972), though dealing with downtrodden lowlifes in Stockton, CA, was a comeback story for director and boxing fan Huston, whose recent films hadn’t met with much critical or commercial favor. This tale of the friendship of a boozing veteran boxer contemplating one more bout (Stacy Keach) and an up-and-comer who wants to learn the ropes (Jeff Bridges) is a marvel of characterization and milieu fitting nicely into the early 1970s golden age of personal and probing pictures for the ages. With riveting performances by Keach and Bridges and a standout portrayal of loneliness and need by Best Supporting Actress Oscar® nominee Susan Tyrrell, it’s a knockout. More John Huston from Twilight Time includes Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison and The Roots of Heaven on Blu-ray, as well as The Kremlin Letter on DVD. Jeff Bridges fans can scope out TT’s The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) and The Vanishing (1993). Additional Huston and Bridges movies will arrive on TT Blu-ray in the coming year; their fabulous intersection on Fat City comes to hi-def Blu-ray from Twilight Time on September 8; pre-orders open on August 26.