Story of the scene: Fat City, John Huston, 1972

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The Independent Culture

John Huston's 'Fat City', based on the novel by Leonard Gardner, is one of the best – and most downbeat – Hollywood films about boxing.

"It's about people who are beaten before they start," Huston stated. The brilliant opening scene sees washed-up fighter Stacy Keach wake, hungover, in a dark motel room. He puts a cigarette in his mouth, stumbles round the room for a light (he can't find one), pulling on clothes to head off to the gym. The film wonderfully captures the camarederie, seediness and pathos of the small-time boxing world. Huston's affection for his characters is apparent, as is the fact that they are never going to be champs.