Fat City

( 1 )

Overview

With a screenplay adapted by Leonard Gardner from his own novel, John Huston's drama examines the meager hopes and resigned dreams of small-time boxers. In limbo between retirement and his youthful prime, alcoholic farm laborer Tully Stacy Keach shacks up with fellow outcast Oma Susan Tyrrell and keeps trying to make a boxing comeback, but his personal demons repeatedly overpower his ambitions. Meanwhile, fellow Stockton, CA resident and budding fighter Ernie Jeff Bridges takes Tully's advice to join trainer ...
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Overview

With a screenplay adapted by Leonard Gardner from his own novel, John Huston's drama examines the meager hopes and resigned dreams of small-time boxers. In limbo between retirement and his youthful prime, alcoholic farm laborer Tully Stacy Keach shacks up with fellow outcast Oma Susan Tyrrell and keeps trying to make a boxing comeback, but his personal demons repeatedly overpower his ambitions. Meanwhile, fellow Stockton, CA resident and budding fighter Ernie Jeff Bridges takes Tully's advice to join trainer Ruben Nicholas Colasanto's gym and make something of himself. Learning the tough lesson that winning is not as easy as it sounds, Ernie is still determined to get what he can out of boxing and, unlike Tully, not let disappointments get the best of him. Shot on location in Stockton by Conrad Hall, the film maintains a realistic, slice-of-life view of Tully's and Ernie's struggles, eschewing theatrical boxing victories for psychological and social details. As Huston avowed at the Cannes Film Festival that Fat City's virtue was its "modesty," critics agreed that he had made his best film in two decades; and Tyrrell was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. However, despite the praise and the efforts of producer Ray Stark, Fat City failed at the box office. Even so, its unromanticized depiction of modest wins and personal losses revealed that old Hollywood pro Huston had adapted well to the late '60s-early '70s New Hollywood grit, and the film revived his artistic standing.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
One of the masterpieces of Hollywood's last golden age, John Huston's Fat City is the kind of film studios wouldn't touch these days: a small-scale character study about unlucky men living on the margins. Set in a rundown California border town, the movie follows the trajectory of Tully (Stacy Keach), a farm laborer whose once-promising boxing career was derailed by booze. Tully's dismal wallow in limbo contrasts with the halting rise of Ernie (Jeff Bridges), a fresh-faced rookie trying to make it big in the low-stakes world of small-time boxing. Graceful, dignified and seemingly effortless, Fat City finds Huston at the top of his game. A model of understatement, it's a movie of indelible, unobtrusive details, like the thick layer of smoke hanging over a dingy boxing arena, or the slouched silhouettes at the local tavern on a lazy afternoon. Laced with empathy, these moments all add up to a fully realized portrait of failure. Huston is aided immeasurably by his cinematographer, the great Conrad L. Hall. From the Hopper-esque light on an empty city block to the seedy murkiness of dive bars, Hall achieves a gritty, naturalistic look that, like Huston's direction, never calls attention to itself. With its relentlessly downbeat tone, Fat City at times threatens to verge into self-parody (the recurring Kris Kristofferson song, "Help Me Make It Through the Night," doesn't help). For all the potential for bathos, however, the movie remains impressively dignified and self-possessed, and stands as one of the high points of Huston's illustrious career.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/22/1994
  • UPC: 043396608764
  • Original Release: 1972
  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Stacy Keach Tully
Jeff Bridges Ernie Munger
Susan Tyrrell Oma
Candy Clark Faye
Nicholas Colasanto Ruben
Art Aragon Babe
Curtis Cokes Earl
Wayne Mahan Buford
Ruben Navarro Fuentes
Sixto Rodriguez Lucero
Bill Walker Wes
Kris Kristofferson Singer
Technical Credits
John Huston Director
Margaret Booth Editor
Leonard Gardner Screenwriter
Conrad L. Hall Cinematographer
Marvin Hamlisch Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Morrie Hoffman Set Decoration/Design
Dorothy Jeakins Costumes/Costume Designer
Kris Kristofferson Score Composer
Tom Overton Sound/Sound Designer
Arthur Piantadosi Sound/Sound Designer
Fred Roos Casting
Jennifer Shull Casting
Ray Stark Producer
Paul Stewart Special Effects
Richard Sylbert Production Designer
Walter Thompson Editor
Jack H. Young Makeup
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Customer Reviews

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    Posted June 10, 2011

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