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William B. Davidson
Tony, the son of Italian immigrants, works in a smoky steel mill in Gary, Indiana. He wins a company scholarship which will enable him to attend Yale college. Over the four years of his college career he learns about football, love, and class prejudice. Written by
Thomas McWilliams <email@example.com>
Real college students were recruited for larger scenes, each getting paid $5 a day. While this helped provide appropriate atmosphere for the college setting of this film, the students were hired at a rate that was below the standard $7.50-a-day paid daily to professional extras in Los Angeles. See more »
A young steelworker earns a scholarship to Yale, where he eventually joins the prestigious football team. But will he ever get to HUDDLE with the best player's upper-class sister?
Ramon Novarro, MGM's chameleon star of the 1920's & '30's, gives this minor film the old college try, but is ultimately defeated by the plot & story line. His acting is good, as usual, and he even gets to sing a little, but he's simply too old to be playing a university football hero (he turned 33 in 1932).
The real difficulty, however, is that the film tries for some degree of social consciousness in its dealing with class struggle, but the framework is just too flimsy for such a weighty, albeit noble, subject. It is difficult to get much solemnity out of a sports film, especially when sprinkled with such ludicrous scenes as Novarro drunk in a public restroom or fist fighting with his coach. The game sequences seem a trifle interminable and MGM didn't help by giving the movie rather cheap production values.
One expects action & romance from a Ramon Novarro picture, not a message film, but the Studio was obviously losing interest in its star. Novarro had become a relic from a bygone era, his private life was always a worry to the front office, and by 1935 his career at MGM would be over.
Novarro's costars, although rather boisterous, are ultimately defeated by the script as well. Pretty Madge Evans is the girl Novarro pines after for four years. John Arledge plays Novarro's loyal roommate; their scenes together, perhaps unconsciously, tend to be a mite gynandrous. Frank Albertson (an actor who deserved major stardom, but never achieved it) is a college buddy, while Kane Richmond is Novarro's nemesis.
Ralph Graves, who was actually a year younger than Novarro, gives a fine performance as Yale's football coach. Una Merkel is a Southern doll with an almost impenetrable accent. Henry Armetta & Ferike Boros add more than a dash of ethnicity as Novarro's Italian-American parents.
Finally, Ramon Novarro still remains the principle reason to watch most of his MGM sound films. As a young immigrant, he had persevered over much hardship to become a major silent screen star. Charming & talented, it is a shame that today Novarro is remembered chiefly for the manner of his death rather than his contribution to American movies.
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