July 1942: The Pride of the Yankees

Oh. This is about some sports guy? Who got a disease named after him? And it was nominated for all the Oscars? But only won for “Best Film Editing”? And it’s directed by schmaltzmeister Sam Wood, who we previously saw in Our Town and Kitty Foyle?

I fear the absolute worst!

And, yes, Wood lays it on with a trowel. There’s barely a scene without a sentimental bed playing beneath. Cooper does his best, especially playing the teenage Gehrig, but it’s an uphill struggle.

This is a well-received movie, getting a 93% tomato rating. Naturally, since I didn’t enjoy this film at all, I’m just going to quote with the one reviewer that didn’t like it either:

Nominated for 11 Oscars (it won one, for best editing), The Pride Of The Yankees has a vaunted reputation as a sports-movie classic, perhaps because the only scene anyone remembers is Gary Cooper humbly, affectingly delivering Gehrig’s famed farewell address at Yankee Stadium. The film that surrounds that speech, however, is surprisingly dreary and lifeless, a slapped-together piece of studio hackwork that’s thick with sentiment and short on illuminating details about Gehrig’s life and career.



Anyway, this does have some good melodramatic scenes (like when Cooper stands up to his mother on his wife’s behalf), but it’s surrounded my much tedium. I wonder whether the positive reception is more about the idea of a film about Lou Gehrig than the actual end result.

The Pride of the Yankees. Sam Wood. 1942.

Popular movies in July 1942 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
17470 7.9 The Magnificent Ambersons
7960 7.8 The Pride of the Yankees
320 7.2 The Pied Piper
313 6.9 The Magnificent Dope
789 6.7 Crossroads
206 6.2 Calling Dr. Gillespie
338 6.1 I Married an Angel
1041 6.1 Invisible Agent
388 6.0 Her Cardboard Lover

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

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