The Boxer and the Death (Boxer a smrt)

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The Boxer is a grim Czechoslovakian drama based on an even grimmer true story. Manfred Krug stars as the Nazi commandant of a wartime concentration camp. Considering himself a born pugilist, Krug despairs because none of the emaciated inmates are "worthy" of being his sparring partner. Spotting a potential boxer (Stefan Kvietik) amongst the doomed prisoners, Krug orders that the young man be fattened up for the fight ring. Kvietik at first resists Krug's demands, but agrees to box in order to stay out of the ovens -- and in the hope of negotiating better treatment for his fellow prisoners. Czechoslovakia's 1963 entry in the San Francisco Film Festival, The Boxer can be considered something of a forerunner to 1989's Triumph of the Spirit, wherein Willem Dafoe played real-life Greek/Jewish boxer Salamo Arusch. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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