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on June 26, 2004
This was probably my introduction, and for millions of others, to the legend that is Lou Gehrig. And for so many years, I had Gehrig and Gary Cooper completely confused in my mind--they seemed inseparable. But there's good reason for it: the role of the Iron Horse seemed to be made for Cooper. Gehrig was a low-key, almost self-effacing athlete and person, which was just the type of character that Cooper built his career on. Their sizes were just about the same. Cooper nailed down Lou Gehrig's voice, especially for the famous "luckiest man" farewell speech. Hell, Gary Cooper LOOKS like Lou Gehrig! Maybe my confusion is justified, at least on this subject.
PRIDE OF THE YANKEES is the grand-daddy of all baseball movies. Cooper's performance, as I can't help but keep mentioning, is stellar. Teresa Wright as his wife helps keep the hankies moist but she is also very spunky and strong. Walter Brennan (who also played opposite Cooper in MEET JOHN DOE where John Doe is a semi-pro pitcher) is in a supporting role here but provides desperately needed comic relief.
And perhaps I'm wrong to categorize PRIDE OF THE YANKESS as merely a baseball film. It is about human potential, human frailty, and above all human strength during times of crisis. Lou Gehrig's tragedy occurred during a time of extreme crisis in America, and, I believe, his strong steady public appearances helped the nation through it. PRIDE OF THE YANKEES could easily have been named "Strength of America" in my mind. It's that important a film.
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on March 1, 2004
"The Pride of the Yankees" is without a doubt one of the best baseball films of all time. Why? Because it isn't just about baseball. It's about a real person seeking that seemingly impossible American dream and capturing it, only to lose it all too soon. Cooper plays Gehrig with so much heart in this film, that the movie almost seems unreal due to the fact that Gehrig was such a good person, both as a human and as a star athlete.
There are few professional athletes in the world who show so much character and so much love to others as Gehrig did. He faced death with honor and courage. He was and is a true hero. If you're looking for an athlete for your children to look up to, pick the "Iron Man of Baseball."
This film does exceptionally well in capturing the heart and soul of Gehrig. It is a great family film and I highly recommend it. Gehrig might have been in Ruth's(and later, DiMaggio's)shadow, but he was so much bigger than these guys. He was honest, hard-working, and approached people long after the cameras were gone.
Add this one to your collection. It's a keeper, even if you don't know the difference between a baseball and a ball of yarn.
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on February 29, 2004
The Pride Of The Yankees, was released in 1942. A year after Lou Gehrig passed on. Gary Cooper plays 'The Iron Horse' who came up in 1925 and played over 2000 games, never missing one. The film begins with Lou as a boy growing up playing ball. But he is not just any ball player. Right away a talent is recognized, he has power among other things. Lou is the son of immigrated parents who want to see there only living child make it in America. Lou's mother wants him to become and enginer. He can make money, support a family and live a better than average life. Lou doesn't want to, but tries to go with his mothers wish. College is just something in the way of playing for the Yankees. Along the way the film shows Gehrig's transformation from a boy into a fine ball player. He has to deal non-stop with his mother and her DREAM of him going to some kind of university. But his dream is shown to be some place else. Gehrig goes back to the Bronx in 1925 and never looks back. The Babe and Gehrig will go to war on offensive stats (yet share a mutual respect for one another) for the next decade and Lou would go after more when Ruth retires. Along the way in the film we meet Lou's future wife Eleanor. She will be the center of his life and him hers. The film captures the true character of Gehrig and his ups and downs in life. Dealing with everyday opsticles, he does it with class. Walter Brennan plays a always going after it sports writer and several real life Yankee players play themself. Nonetheless no one plays Ruth, except for himself. And does it well. The film captures a life filled with dreams to achieve and that are, a sport that truely is the greatest and a man who shows the true meaning of the human spirit. Gehrig is brilliantly played by Gary Cooper who won an Oscar nomination (and should have one.) Anything less than great would not have done this film and the life of Gehrig justice, yet it does just that. Being a life long Yankees fan, I don't like this film because it deals with the team, although it's a plus. It's the depth that it takes you too. How a man who had nothing early in life, left with it all and no less a great story of Gehrig's wonderful yet short life! Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, it won for Best Editing. It should have won many more, but it doesn't have to win any awards to be effective!
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on April 13, 2004
I hate people that can't seem to enjoy an old fashioned good feeling movie and call it sacharine because it has a happy ending. Which is why I am a little embarassed to give Pride of the Yankees just three stars. But the truth is that I really had to fight hard to surpress a smile at the level of schmaltz in this film that I didn't recognize when I saw this as a boy.
Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig with a childlike naivete which I know was charming in its day but today it feels like you would have to lock someone up who was his age and still that childlike. And I really did want to play along with the most classic scene in the film but found it funnier than any campy parody I have seen over the years. The little boy in the hospital who is sitting by the radio because the Babe and Lou promised him they would each hit home runs form him. "Little Billy" sits in pajamas in the hospital by the radio. He listens earnestly with a expectant vapid open mouth expression waiting. Its as if his ability to ever walk again hung on the success of that hit. Bottom of the sixth Gehrig disappoints by striking out for his second time in a row still one short of the two promised home runs, you can tell the kid is thinking "Damn" but instead says "Golly"! I am glad I wasn't drinking anything at the time because it would shot through my nose trying to hold back the laugh. Pride of the Yankess does hearken back to simpler times but is perhaps so gentle and guileless it crosses the line into accidental comedy.
However I did very much enjoy the relationship between the two competing sportswriters who mock each others favorite players much like Statler and Waldorf the two old geezers in The Muppet Show. Walter Brennan plays writer Sam Blake who roots for Lou and does a wonderful job. He is so slender of build here he is almost unrecognizable in this role.
I am sure most people will have a fine time enjoying this film and Lou Gehrigs touching farewell speech.
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on June 22, 2003
Gay Cooper captures The Iron Man and did the job well.
Here is the full text of Gehrig's speech:
'Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for 17 years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?
Sure I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure I'm lucky. When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift - that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies - that's something.
When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter - that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body - it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed - that's the finest I know. So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for. Thank you.'
If you wish to honor the memory Lou Gerhig, go to [website] and make a donation to MDA. Gerhig died from ALS which is one of the more than 40 neuromuscular diseases that MDA fights to cure. There is nore cure for ALS at this time.
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on September 20, 2002
The Pride of the Yankees is perhaps the best movie about sports because it is about so much more than sports: it's about love and bravery and dedication, on and off the field. And unlike so many other dying athlete movies, the sentiment is understated--you can cry unashamedly.
Now to the silly idea of colorizing movies. How's this for a reason not to do it: the filmmakers who created black and white movies never intended them to be seen in color. They were designed, lit, and photographed for black and white viewing. Surely we should have some regard for the purposes and judgments of the artists and craftsmen involved.
So many veteran filmmakers objected to this barbarism, this dumbing down of their work. John Huston in his final illness and drawing breath from an oxygen tank testified before Congress in hopes that legislation protecting black and white films would be passed. Orson Welles told a friend that he didn't want Ted Turner to deface Citizen Kane "with his crayons." (In what would have been the worst outrage of colorization, Turner's company looked into colorizing Kane, only to discover that Welles' contract with RKO forbade any alterations in the final film by anyone other than Welles himself.)
Incidentally, films can and have been restored without colorizing them, of course. But what is the point of restoring the film only to degrade it by coloring it? Furthermore, you do not get a true black and white representation of a colorized film by simply turning down the color control: the application of the color tones degrades the image's grey scale--in other words, the image appears too dark or too light.
Surely not everything must be candy-colored to be enjoyed. Black and white has a silvery spectral beauty all its own. Give in to it, without prejudice.
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on June 3, 2003
I bought the black and white DVD version from Amazon and watched this movie with my daughter (my first time in about 10 years). What can you say other than this is one of top movies made. It helps to have such a compelling figure for the plot. I can count on one hand the number of hollywood movies that move me to tears and this is one of them. The emotion in the final sequence is tremendous. Gary Cooper is the perfect actor for this role. PS: my daughter now wears jersey #4 on her softball team...
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on September 27, 2002
Pride of the Yankees has been my favorite movie of all time ever since I first saw it at about age 14. It is a fantastic story about an era in baseball and Canadian/American history that gives you a feeling of nostalgia even if you were not alive then. I give four stars out of four for the movie and I give zero stars out of one for the color version. You must see this movie, but you must see it in black and white. I refuse to buy any more colorized versions of originally balck and white movies.
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on July 8, 2003
This movie is good, but nowhere near where the hype has put it. I am a Yankees fan, so I appreciated many aspects of it. However, some of it was too long (some looong dance sequences that might have been entertaining 50 years ago, but not now). It was good to see Babe Ruth as himself. The story was informative and accurate. The emotional aspect was present but not real strong or overwhelming. Still, it was not up there with other five-star movies.
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on July 16, 2002
Arguably the greatest sports movie of all time.
A great movie for all,I would have to think that you would
be very hard pressed to find a more enjoyable movie. You will
be a fan of Baseball and Lou Gerig. Be ready to laugh,cry,and feel good.
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