On the night of June 22, 1938, the largest radio audience in history tuned in to hear what was happening at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Joe Louis -- the pride of black America -- was taking on Max Schmeling, Hitler’s golden boy, in the heavyweight championship of the world. Astonishingly, both fighters had Jewish managers. As the clouds of war gathered in Europe, the match had come to symbolize much more than a sporting contest -- it was a test of Hitler’s theories of racial supremacy, and of the notion that a black man could be an all-American hero. The Jewish community rooted loudly for Louis.
In Barak Goodman’s stirring, stunning documentary, the drama of this now legendary bout unfolds against the backdrop of racial, cultural, and political matters far greater than boxing itself. But it is also a marvelous sports film and an insightful portrait of two extraordinary athletes caught up against their will
in the sweep of history.
Director Goodman, whose Scottsboro: An American Tragedy was a favorite of the 2000 SFJFF and later on public television, proves once again to be a master of the good story, well told. His gift for finding rare archival film -- and lovingly restoring and editing it into a taut drama -- is one of the joys of The Fight, which is an unabashed treat for lovers of history, drama, and that greatest of sporting stages, the ring.
Director, writer, producer
In twelve years of producing documentaries, Barak Goodman has received every
major industry award: the Peabody, duPont-Columbia, National Emmy, and an
Academy Award nomination. Two of his films for PBS’s American Experience
were selected for the documentary competition by the Sundance Film Festival:
"Scottsboro: An American Tragedy" (Sundance 2000), and "The Fight" (Sundance
2004), which will be broadcast on American Experience in the 2004-05 season
For the PBS series Frontline, Goodman has co-produced with wife Rachel
Dretzin "The Lost Children of Rockdale County," "Merchants of Cool," and the
series "Failure to Protect," which was recently awarded the duPont-Columbia.
Goodman and John Maggio are co-producing with Twin Cities Public Television a
documentary on 1950s sex researcher Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey for American
Experience. Goodman is a graduate of Harvard University.