Pulp Fiction Art: The Set-Up and Pulp Fiction

Imposing, ruggedly handsome lead who made his film debut in "Golden Gloves" (1940) and signed with RKO two years later. Ryan hit his stride in the late 1940s playing a string of psychopathic or hard-boiled types, notably the anti-Semitic murderer in "Crossfire" (1947) and the over-the-hill pug in the classic boxing drama, "The Set-Up" (1949). Source: www.tcm.com

Robert Ryan: In real life he was the exact opposite, a private, family man, a fierce liberal who campaigned for many causes like civil rights, against Sen. McCarthy's withchunts, anti-nukes, etc. He did many stage productions at the height of his movie stardom which not too many actors would do including Irving Berlin's last musical "Mr. President." He said, "In movies, I've played pretty much everything that I've dedicated my life to fighting against."
A legitimate tough guy in a land of fake tough guys, he was a Marine Drill Instructor and an Ivy League boxing champion who on the set of "The Wild Bunch" threatened to punch out legendary tough guy Sam Peckinpah whom he didn't get along with.

In "The Set-Up" considered by many one of the best of all the boxing movies and Bob's favorite role, Ryan plays a real ham and egger in the dead end world of small time boxing. “Bob caught all the nuances of guts and shattered hopes, and small-time aspirations of a never-was beating the hell out of the desperation of being a club fighter.”– Samuel Fuller. I'll be as bold to say that Ryan's performance is the best in any boxing movie.

An actor first, a star second, not afraid to take an unsympathetic role. Ryan brought a dignity and intelligence to any film that he was in and if you love movies and acting you should definitely try to catch some of his films at the Film Forum, TCM or Netflix. Source: johnnyspin.blogspot.com


The Set Up (1949) entire fight sequence:
Need to choreograph a boxing fight scene? Start here then move on to Raging Bull. Robert Wise's staging of this scene is not only a blistering and poetic stand alone fight scene its a 24min sequence that is the story. Character, plot action all meet to create a dramatic climax. Need to steal the classic Set Up plot for your action flick? Use this one, Tarantino/Avary did just that to kick start Pulp Fiction in the Bruce Willis chapter


Pulp Fiction Bar Scene with Bruce Willis - Marcellus Wallace Speech


The Set-Up and Pulp Fiction: Comparing Robert Wise's classic boxing noir drama "The Set-Up" (1949) with Tarantino's postmodern thriller "Pulp Fiction" (1994)

"In the screenplay, Butch is a featherweight boxer but in the film, Butch's opponent Wilson has his weight announced as "210 pounds" - implying that Butch is a heavyweight. The role of Butch was originally supposed to be an up and coming boxer. Matt Dillon was in talks to play the role, but never committed.
Quentin Tarantino then changed the role and offered it to Bruce Willis, who had been disappointed at not being signed to play Vincent". Source: www.imdb.com

"As for what influences the movie's action, the episode in which hapless Vincent is tempted by Marcellus' wife, Mia (Thurman), whom he's been asked to ''look after'', echoes the vintage noir 'Out of the Past', in which Robert Mitchum falls for a bad guy's girl.
When Pulp Fiction's Butch takes a payoff to throw a fight and then doesn't, Tarantino nods to director Robert Wise's engrossing The Set-Up, in which the apostate pugilist (Robert Ryan) tries to flee from mobsters after failing to take a dive.

Gen-Xers like to cite Repo Man's glowing car trunk as the source of the unearthly light emanating from the briefcase Vincent and Jules are delivering to Marcellus, but said glow doubtless originated from a sealed box in Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly.


Ralph Meeker in Boxing Scene of "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955).

The whole joke behind Jack Rabbit Slim's, the restaurant where Travolta and Thurman win the twist contest, is that everything about it is a movie — or a pop-culture — reference". Source: www.ew.com


No American art form has ever managed to capture the enduring appeal of the profoundly sordid as neatly as pulp fiction. From the propulsive storylines to the laconic prose to the striking cover art that has, for decades, routinely adorned pulp paperbacks, the genre is edgy pop culture at its most elemental: sex and violence with a side of wry.
Today, one publisher in the U.S. keeps the hard-boiled paperback tradition alive: since 2004, Hard Case Crime has published scores of titles -- some of them brand new, others classics of the genre lovingly reprinted for a new audience -- each one featuring a cover that, like the tale inside, grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. Here, in partnership with Hard Case, LIFE.com presents a celebration of American pulp fiction, and the gorgeous, lurid cover art that has forever been its visual trademark. Source: www.life.com