The Pride of the Yankees (1942) Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth, Walter Brennan, Dan Duryea, Elsa Janssen Movie Review

The Pride of the Yankees (1942)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Gary Cooper in The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

A Home Run

The son of immigrants Lou Gehrig was brought up on the nobility of hard work and is why despite not really wanting to be an engineer he heads off to college to be one as that would be a good career in his mother's eyes. But not only does Lou have a love of baseball he has a talent for the sport as well with his talent being spotted by an agent who signs him up to play professionally. But after many successful years as a professional player he falls ill at the age of 37 to a nerve disease known as ALS.

I think the closest I have ever got to a baseball game, other than all the baseball movies I have watched, is briefly seeing a baseball diamond at one of the American Air Force bases in the UK when I was very young. As such whilst I love a good baseball movie I am not by any means knowledgeable on the sport and whilst I know the name Lou Gehrig because of him falling ill to a nerve disease I knew nothing about his career before watching "The Pride of the Yankees". Whilst that doesn't make me the authority on how accurate this biopic is it does make me sentimentally detached from the story.

Having watched "The Pride of the Yankees" I can understand why there is still so much love for Gehrig and what he achieved as not only was he a stunning baseball player but he conducted himself in a dignified manner, showing that hard work and dedication could get you where you wanted to go, basically he was the working man's hero. And of course there is the fact at 37 he was struck down with a horrible illness, some thing he dealt with in the same dignified way he conducted his entire life. And the movie does a nice job of getting across this aspect of Gehrig, the working class hero whose clean living contributed to his popularity.

But how does "The Pride of the Yankees" come across as a movie? Well if I said it is on par with other biopics from the era you might not quite get what I mean. So let me say that whilst certainly entertaining the focus of "The Pride of the Yankees" is pretty much always on being nice and being positive about the characters in the movie, bringing humour to them to up their pleasantness. As such the word sanitized comes to mind to describe the movie and the performances.

What this all boils down to is that "The Pride of the Yankees" is undeniably an entertaining biopic of a still popular baseball star with it having that sanitized feel which graced so many biopics of the past. But that does mean that whilst enjoyable I can't but feel that there is another story to be told when it comes to Gehrig, one which isn't concerned with being fun and pleasant which unfortunately now comes across as a bit hokey.

Tags: Baseball Movies