Sunday, December 15, 2013

Audrey Totter, 1917-2013

Audrey Totter and Robert Ryan in a promotional still from The Set-Up

Noir actress Audrey Totter died on Thursday, but I don't think the news of her passing hit the Internet until yesterday afternoon. Totter was a week shy of her 96th birthday.

One of the movies she was in that I'd love to recommend is The Set-Up. But she's not really the star here; that honor goes to Robert Ryan. Even though she gets star billing, it's in a smallish role that's clearly a supporting role. That, and it appears to be out of print on DVD, having been released as part of some noir collection back in 2004. Totter plays the wife of Ryan, who is a boxer on the way down, reduced to fighting in small-stakes bouts that are maybe one step up from the church Rocky Balboa fights in at the beginning of Rocky, or where the fights take place in Fat City. In fact, Ryan is such a lousy boxer that his trainer has agreed with a mobster backing Ryan's opponent to take a dive for some extra money. But the only complication is that Ryan isn't told about this. He's supposed to be so lousy now that he's bound to lose even without having to take a dive, but he's going to try to win the fight anyway. Totter, as his wife, desperately wants him to give up boxing and take up something more honorable, like being a trainer.

No comments: