Week four of my Hitchcock challenge brings me to The Ring. A kind of typical boxing movie and the only film in his career for which Hitchcock received sole writing credit.

WHAT HAPPENED?

The film narrative is rather simple; the protagonist ‘One-Round Jack’ is a carnival boxer whose job is to beat the stupid punters in one round or less. He’s good at the job as he is a fairly talented boxer and a majority of the people he is forced to face are drunk, idiotic or both. However unbeknownst to him world champion ‘Bob Corby’ has fallen in love with his fiancée (a pretty girl who works at the carnival ticket counter). Bob goes undercover and fights One-Round Jack, beating him thus ruining his reputation and act. Bob then continues to steal the girl from Jack. Jack annoyed by this sets out for revenge and begins training before becoming a professional boxer and ultimately gaining a chance for revenge in a World Championship fight against Bob. After taking a severe beating early on Jack defies odds and goes on to win the fight and his girl.

THE GOOD

The good moments in this film are brief as it is clear from the outset that the story is not a good one. There are some good moments of visual storytelling with a fade showing ticket stubs depleting and moments when Jack goes crazy.

Image

There is also a drunk blurry shot which is kind of cool but doesn’t really add anything to the story.

The only scene worth any note within in the film is the climatic boxing scene. It is amazing how well this scene is put together and how little boxing films have changed throughout the years. The shot used within the boxing scene are almost the same as seen in Rocky or even The Fighter with a mixture of close-ups, long shots and then reactions shot of the crowd showing both people involved with the character and those not. Also the idea of the underdog coming through a battering and ultimately winning the fight is something which apparently Hitchcock invented himself which is quite amazing really.

THE BAD

There are many bad points to this film, firstly casual racism, (I understand that at the time things like this happened but its still shocking) at the start of the film we see random shots of a carnival going on followed by a black man performing and being pelted with eggs and such. This was mind-boggling to watch and rather shocking.

Image

Next was the writing of the piece. There was basically no tension in the film until the final boxing scene and no character I really wanted to root for. Jack was ok but he did nothing that made me want him to succeed. This led to a long-winded and pointless experience with lots of filler scenes that has no real significance apart from perhaps a small amount of comic relief (there is one scene in which a pair of Siamese twins can’t decide where to sit). 

CAMEO O’CLOCK

Hitchcock did not make a cameo in this film! It was before it became his trademark. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

In conclusion The Ring to me was a backward step in directed by Hitchcock, the story was uninteresting and the visuals only slightly more so. It is clear from this film why Hitchcock decided not to write any of his films latter than this. The negatives outweigh the few positive moments in this film so I therefore award it… 2 Hitch’s 

Image Image