Somebody Up There Likes Me

Director: Robert Wise
Year Released: 1956
Rating: 2.5

No-good street thug Rocky Graziano (Paul Newman), born to an abusive father and weak-minded mother, needs to learn how to channel his sexual energy: early on, it's directed at authority figures, but he discovers a way to expel it in a more 'positive' direction: in the ring and with his wife (played by Pier Angeli). I'm probably in the minority in thinking Newman's performance is distractingly affected, and it's certainly not Graziano's fault that his life turned out to be another Nothin'-to-Somethin' story, but the emphasis of Freudian details (like Graziano having to make peace with Dad) is something the filmmakers could have tempered. Fitting, too, that Wise - and screenwriter Ernest Lehman - chose to end after the second Tony Zale fight: Graziano ended up losing the third one.