• Fat City

    Released by: Twilight Time
    Released on: September 8th, 2015
    Director: John Huston
    Cast: Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges, Candy Clark, Susan Tyrell
    Year: 1972
    Purchase From Screen Archives

    The Movie

    Fat City is film very much indicative of the gritty, realistic and character driven cinema styles of the 1970s; a story which centers its focus upon two boxers, but is so very much more than that at the end of the day. Legendary director and actor John Huston directs Stacy Keach and a young Jeff Bridges as two boxers, the former a drunk and depressed has-been and the latter a big-eyed, wandering youth searching for his purpose.

    Huston's rock solid direction is bolstered by Leonard Gardner's screenplay, which is based on his novel, and which takes its time exploring each character, and setting up their particular stories. Susan Tyrell and Candy Clark co-star in the film, with Tyrell's performance as a manic, unstable addict with severe mental issues one which steals nearly every scene she's in, even from the already impressive acting talent which surrounds her.

    It's difficult to describe Fat City without giving away lots of plot points, but Gardner and Huston manage to tell the age old tale of the old boxer searching for "one more shot" by juxtaposing it against Bridges' Ernie, who isn't even sure he wants to be a pro boxer, but is pushed by Keach's Tully during an impromptu sparring match to meet up with his older trainer for some lessons. It's after this chance meeting where we settle back into Fat City's nicely paced method of explaining both boxer's career paths.

    Themes of loss, destiny and struggle affect both men throughout the film, while Tyrell and Clark provide varying depictions of moral support, with Clark's character of Faye serving as a vision of normalcy to which Ernie can anchor himself, while Tyrell's Oma is chaos incarnate; a whirlwind force of nature which can't be controlled, least of all by Keach's unpredictable Tully. It's a fascinating story which unfolds, all expertly shot by famed DP Conrad Hall, and a film which enjoys a newfound life here via Twilight Time.


    The Twilight Time Blu-Ray for Fat City looks nice here in AVC encoded 1080p high definition, with plenty of organic grain which really leaves Conrad Hall's awesome cinematography alone well enough to do its thing without cleaning this one up too much. The first couple of scenes do look a little dark, and there's a bit of damage which pops up during certain scenes, but overall flesh tones look nice, and this movie is wonderful to look at, that's for sure.

    Audio, in English DTS-HD format, is strong, as well, with nicely balanced dialog between the characters, while the hearing impaired subtitles even go through the trouble of centering themselves differently, depending on which character is speaking; it's a nice touch. Extras include the film's theatrical trailer, and a commentary track from film historians Lem Dobbs and Nick Redman, which is admittedly dry stuff, but totally informative and nice to have on here for fans of the film.

    The Final Word

    Fat City is a wonderful film with some deeply nuanced characters. It's a sports movie for people who don't like sports movies and a drama for those who don't think they could watch dramas, but moreover, it's just a very real story of real people. Highly recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Randy G's Avatar
      Randy G -
      One of my favourite films of the 70s!
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      A truly great film. Funnily enough, whilst off work last week due to illness, I rewatched the film via the French BD release, and had no idea it was due for a BD release in the US. I love the final scene; it works wonderfully.