Picks and Pans Review: Sugar Ray Robinson
A rare combination of speed, grace and power, Sugar Ray Robinson had a boxing style that caused observers to reach high for the fitting non-sports analogy. In this well-made documentary, interviewee Woody Allen calls Robinson the William Shakespeare of his field. But as is suggested by the hour-long film's subtitle, The Bright Lights and Dark Shadows of a Champion, Robinson was not a winner in all phases of life. He was an abusive husband; a neglectful father; a failed entertainer foolish enough to think he could dance as well on a stage as he could in the ring. Though a canny negotiator and enterprising businessman, he squandered his money and felt compelled to fight far beyond his prime. In a state of what one associate calls "premature senility," he died in 1989 at 67. Though unstinting in its praise of Robinson the athlete, the film sees past the fast hands and fancy footwork to the human failings. Add the evocative original music of Wynton Marsalis, and you have a vivid portrait of an elusive but unforgettable sports figure.
Bottom Line: Boxing bio's in top shape