Someone could have shown him a lateral drop and this entire fight would have been over in about 25 seconds. Wrestling fans around the world will notice that at 2 minutes into this clip he could have launched Rip Torn and wound up on top, pummeling his shocked adversary. Instead he goes for a “Sushil” offensive ear bite and falls backward down the hill ending up on bottom. Then he falls for the old “Truce” play, at which point the fight starts again until Mailer’s wife starts slapping Rip Torn in the face.
And some back story:
“The film (Maidstone, 1970) is now famous for the improvised fight between Norman Mailer and Rip Torn. As the camera rolled, Torn struck Mailer in the head with a hammer, intending to “kill his character.” Mailer’s scalp opened up, and a vicious fight ensued. With the camera still rolling, Torn energetically strangled Mailer until the fight was broken up by Mailer’s wife Beverly and Mailer’s wailing children. During the melee, Mailer bit off a small chunk of Rip Torn’s ear. The fight, in which the actors called each other by their real names, made it into the film, and the segment has proven very popular on the Internet in recent years.”