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Simple And Straightforward Prodigal Son Type Movie Set In The Context Of Baseball
Apparently Charles Ray (who stars in this movie as Ben Harding) was quite a famous actor in the silent movie scene of the 1910's, playing essentially variations on the same character - the small town boy who gets dazzled by the bright lights of the big city. In this movie, the character gets set in the context of baseball. Harding is a pitcher for the local team in Brownsville. Brownsville is a small, rural place where people care about each other, and where Harding has a crush (I call it that because it seems so appropriate for the overall innocence of the town!) on Mazie (Colleen Moore.) But Harding's talent brings him to the attention of the big league "St. Paul Pink Sox" where, once introduced to big league life in the big city, Harding forgets his roots and becomes so full of himself that he ends up being let go by the Sox. His baseball career quickly over, Harding returns to Brownville and reconnects with those he had forgotten, finally leading the local team to a big win over rival Centerville.
The story's nothing special. The basic idea of the wayward, prodigal son returning home and re-connecting has been around, after all, at least since the days of Jesus! Still, this is a pleasant movie, and I liked Ray in the lead. Like the movie, he was simple and straightforward, an almost underplayed performance (especially by silent movie standards) that I really liked. The movie blends together drama and comedy and romance into a workable story, and some of the "onfield" action gave an interesting enough look at baseball of that era.
There's certainly nothing wrong with this; there's also nothing especially spectacular about it. It's just a nicely made film revolving around a familiar theme and starring a very likable lead. (6/10)
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