Are you familiar with "The Set-Up" (1949, RKO, dir. Robert Wise)? It is a
fascinating film noir about a washed-up boxer in a tank town. The
performances, especially Robert Ryan, the camerawork by James Wong Howe and
the overall atmosphere is unforgettable. Unusual too in that the entire
action takes place within the running time of the film.
How about "City for Conquest" (1940, Warners, dir. Anatole Litvak)? This
quintessential "city" film is very Romantic and features James Cagney as a
sensitive boxer (a la "Golden Boy") who fights to support his composer
younger brother (Arthur Kennedy). The Max Steiner score, the great boxing
sequences and a rare appearance by Elia Kazan in a featured acting role, make
this a must.
Not about boxing, but wrestling is "Night and the City" (1950, Fox, dir.
Jules Dassin). The original (the execrable DeNiro remake cannot compare) is a
gorgeous film noir with some unforgettable wrestling scenes.
Many more. Keep looking.
Gene Stavis - School of Visual Arts, NYC