Requiem for a Heavyweight (partially found BBC Sunday-Night Theatre TV play; 1957)

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Requiem.jpg

Publicity photograph of Sean Connery portraying Mountain McClintock

Status: Partially found

Comment: Audio recording by the director exists


Requiem for a Heavyweight is teleplay written by Rod Serling, most well-known for his TV series The Twilight Zone. It was produced for Playhouse 90, a live TV show, on the 9th of October, 1956. It was also adapted into a movie, in 1962, starring Anthony Quinn.

The BBC adapted the teleplay for their live TV play show Sunday-Night Theatre, which in itself has many lost episodes. It aired on the 31st of March, 1957. It's notable for being the first major role of Sean Connery, most well-known for playing the first film adaptation of James Bond.

Plot

Mountain McClintock is a heavyweight boxing champion suffering from "punch drunk syndrome". Still, his manager exploits him, since he owes money to the mafia.

BBC Production

According to Alvin Rakoff (the director) the production was halted due to Jack Palance (he portrayed McClintock in the original Playhouse 90 production) declined to appear. Rakoff was then tasked to find a replacement. He was told by Jacqueline Hill, who would play Grace Carney and had worked with Rakoff in multiple occasions, to choose an extra by the name of Sean Connery, whom Rakoff had worked with in The Comdemned. She stated "The ladies will like him". Hill is most known for portraying Barbara Wright in Doctor Who and ended up marrying Rakoff the year after this production.

Despite Rakoff not being fond of Connery's accent, he still casted him as the main character.

Rakoff also wrote new material, with Serling approval, to accomodate costume changes (US television had ad breaks during shows, while UK television did not).

Another notable cast member is Michael Caine, who was featured in one of the newly added scenes.

Reception

The Times wrote "It is unfortunate that Mr. Serling has allowed a saccharine romance to intrude into this self-sufficient and wholly masculine situation. Otherwise his touch is sure. Although physically miscast as the fighter, Mr. Sean Connery played with a shambling and inarticulate charm that almost made the love affair credible."

Availability

The episode has not survived in full due to it being a live performance and BBC's treatment of tapes.

Telesnaps taken by John Cura exist in Alvin Rakoff's possession. Also in Rakoff's possession is an audio recording of the show, which was discovered in his attic in 2014.

Since 2016, a reconstruction using the telesnaps and audio has been in the works. However it is unknown when it's going to be released.

Gallery

The original Playhouse 90 version.


External Links