Re: RARA-AVIS: Hard-boiled Sports

From: Juri Nummelin (
Date: 06 Apr 2000

DLM wrote:

> Currently reading FAT CITY by Leonard Gardner - a great little novel about
> boxing in Stockton, California.

Is this the one John Huston made his great film on?

Since having contributed to this wonderful line of discussion, I feel like doing some kind of a conclusion.

There seems to be a misunderstanding between the sport itself and its dramatic influence on the story. In the first occasion, hardboiled sport should be something in which the players are hardboiled or show some HB manners. Hockey could be one and boxing of course, but I believe physical strenght doesn't qualify as HB, because then weight-lifters would be hardboiled.

But in the second occasion, boxing, horse racing, car racing and poker game are hardboiled, because they are used very much to the dramatic effect in hardboiled fiction. We could also include pool or billiard here too, remembering at least
"The Hustler", and perhaps some other sports (shooting? at least in Charles Williams's "The Long Saturday Night"). These sports (or arts, like Bob Randisi said about poker) are also very dramatic in themselves, which gives them natural feeling for being dramatized. Furthermore, I believe that even though hockey and football and the like can be exciting, they are not very dramatic, in the same sense that Bertolt Brecht meant saying that boxing is like the Greek drama.


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