Day of the Fight

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Collection of

A day in the life of boxer Walter Cartier.

In 1951, at 23 years of age, Kubrick used $3,900 of his savings to finance his first film, a short documentary about middleweight boxer Walter Cartier, who had been the subject of one of Kubrick's Look photo assignments titled "Prizefighter Walter Cartier."

Taught to use the equipment by the man who rented it to him, Kubrick acted as producer, director, and cinematographer. Day of the Fight was bought by RKO for its This is America series for $4,000 and played at the Paramount Theatre in New York, netting young Kubrick a small profit of $100.

Of note, this film contains a theme which was to run throughout much of Kubrick's work, that of the duality of man. Early in the day we see Walter playing with his dog and receiving Holy Communion at his church.

Later as he prepares for his bout the narrator tells us:

"As he gets ready to walk out to the arena, and the three thousand people who are there, Walter is slowly becoming another man. This is the man who cannot lose, who must not lose. The hard movements of his arms and fists are different from what they were an hour ago. They belong to a fierce, new person. They're part of the arena man. The Walter Cartier that the crowd outside is going to see in fifteen minutes."

Cartier went on to pursue a career in acting, appearing in the boxing movie  Somebody Up There Likes Me and as cast member of The Phil Silvers Show.

Production Company -- A Stanley Kubrick Production
Producer -- Stanley Kubrick
Director -- Stanley Kubrick
Photography -- Stanley Kubrick
Assistant Director -- Alexander Singer
Narration Script -Robert Rein
Narrator -- Douglas Edwards
Editor -- Julian Bergman
Music -- Gerald Fried
Walter Cartier -- Himself
Vincent Cartier -- Himself
Running time: 13 minutes.**
Distributor: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Year of release: 1951

*Most early books on Kubrick credit him not only as Director but as Producer, Writer, Cameraman, and Editor as well. The film's actual credits differ slightly.
** There are two versions of this film. Kubrick's original runs just over twelve and a half minutes but RKO added a four minute, fifteen second prologue of general boxing footage and narration along with different credits and opening music. Some of the narration was also changed. More info to come.

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