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HUMPHREY BOGART AND ROD STEIGER IN 'THE HARDER THEY FALL'

Title: ANTS Year: 1977 Rating: ****

The legendary Humphrey Bogart's last movie, during the mid-1950's when the big message could become more important than the characters, which is the opposite of ON THE WATERFRONT that Mark Robson's extremely bias boxing scandal-expose THE HARDER THEY FALL attempts the suspenseful, brawny big city edginess of... armed gangsters ruling over muscular everymen... but in a passive, mainstream fashion...

A shame since the boxing sequences — where has-been sports-writer Bogart and his seedy promoter boss Rod Steiger have ringside seats — are filmed with brutal realism... both men making sure the opponents of their mediocre giant upstart take the same kind of fall that could have made Marlon Brando a contender....

Humphrey Bogart and Rod Steiger in The Harder They Fall channels On The Waterfront

The main problem are the bad guys — all short of sporting menacing little mustaches — lacking intriguingly vicious bravado that'd make them worth rooting against... and Steiger can be a lot of fun to hate, like in AL CAPONE with the same tough yet vulnerable sidekick in Nehemiah Persoff... 

While Bogart, despite starting-out reluctantly alongside Steiger in the rigged-game before predictably coming around, lacks the enigmatic moral ambiguity that underlined his early game-changing film noirs... characters bordering on crooked and dependable... yet here he's more a passenger along for the ride: somewhat having to do with his impending illness but mostly caused by the bland screenplay.

Rod Steiger in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Humphrey Bogart and Harold J. Stone in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Mike Lane in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Felice Orlandi and Nehemiah Persoff in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Humphrey Bogart and Rod Steiger in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Humphrey Bogart and Rod Steiger in THE HARDER THEY FALL with Val Avery
Credits for THE HARDER THEY FALL
Credits for THE HARDER THEY FALL
Credits for THE HARDER THEY FALL
Mike Lane and Rod Steiger in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Humphrey Bogart and Rod Steiger in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Humphrey Bogart and Rod Steiger in THE HARDER THEY FALL with Max Baer
Marian Carr and Felice Orlandi  in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Marian Carr and Felice Orlandi  in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Felice Orlandi  in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Felice Orlandi  in THE HARDER THEY FALL with Humphrey Bogart
Mike Lane in THE HARDER THEY FALL with Max Baer
Mike Lane in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Humphrey Bogart in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Humphrey Bogart in THE HARDER THEY FALL with Rod Steiger and Nehemiah Persoff
Mike Lane in THE HARDER THEY FALL with Carlos Montalbán
Mike Lane in THE HARDER THEY FALL with Carlos Montalbán and Humphrey Bogart
Marian Carr and Felice Orlandi  in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Humphrey Bogart and Nehemiah Persoff in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Future Al Capone partners Rod Steiger and Nehemiah Persoff in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Humphrey Bogart and Mike Lane in THE HARDER THEY FALL
Humphrey Bogart and Mike Lane in THE HARDER THEY FALL

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