Monday, November 30, 2015

The real Dicky Eklund gets documentarized on SnagFilms

Watch a fascinating 1998 documentary about crack addiction filmed in Lowell, Mass., and featuring Dicky Ecklund, the doped-up prizefighter played by Christian Bale in "The Fighter."

The real Dicky Eklund gets documentarized on SnagFilms

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You know the documentary film crew "interviewing" boxing brothers Dicky and Micky at the beginning of The Fighter?

SnagFilms, the free online movie site which recently announced that it was expanding its up-to-now non-fiction library to include narrative fiction films, has the real documentary on its hands. It's High On Crack Street: Lost Lives In Lowell. Shot by Mary Ann DeLeo, Rich Farrell and John Alpert in 1998, the hour-long piece profiles three citizens of the Massachusetts mill town who tumbled into crack addiction. One of the three is Dicky Eklund, the ex-prizefighter who went the distance against Sugar Ray Leonard and whose brother, Micky Ward, is the central figure in the the Oscar-nominated The Fighter.

In David O. Russell’s film, Christian Bale plays the strung-out, doped-up Dicky, and Mark Wahlberg is his pugilist sib, “Irish” Micky Ward. Melissa Leo is the boy’s hardscrabble, beehived mom, Alice Ward. The real Alice can also be seen in High On Crack Street, answering the query “What do you think the biggest danger is that’s waiting out there for Dicky?”

“The biggest danger?” she responds. “I don’t think there’s any danger out there, really, for Dicky. Dicky is Dicky and he can do anything he wants to do.” (Like selling his life story to Hollywood.)

And watch and listen to the real Dicky laughing as he cradles his kid. Bale -- the likely winner in the best supporting actor race come February 27 -- has the guy down to a tee (and to a ratty T-shirt, too).

(Eklund and Bale mock spar in the photo.)

Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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