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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>
Worthy subject seriously undermined by extreme length.
There is no doubt that there is a potentially great film hiding in HUDDLE, but sadly it gets lost somewhere. The movie is a serious attempt to look at the consequences of the class system in a supposedly egalitarian America. RAMON NOVARRO is excellent as the poor son of Italian immigrants struggling to be accepted as a student at Yale. He comes up against the class system at every turn, including his love-life, and he feels he must constantly prove himself to be accepted by his peers. This results in him putting himself in great physical danger in a very well-acted climactic sequence. Novarro was truly a fabulous actor, much under-rated.
But the film goes on way too long, and loses its focus. In attempting to include lots of college hi-jinks and comedy sequences, the theme gets lost, and much of the film plays poorly in comparison with the great 1926 silent film BROWN OF HARVARD, which covers similar territory. It's all a bit of a shame given that all the players are terrific and the theme quite radical for its day. For a 1932 film too the sound-recording is quite bad, with the annoying song sequences badly out of sync (did Yale students really sing that much!?).
But there are some rather risque sequences, a touch of gay sub-text (involving Ramon's room-mate, played very well indeed by JOHN ARLEDGE - again BROWN OF HARVARD handles this situation much better), lots of male and female youthful beauty to admire (Ramon looks great, and KANE RICHMOND must be one of the best looking men ever filmed), and sufficient action to see you through to the end. If only the script editor, and then the film editor, had been a little more vigilant, this may have turned out to be a really great film. Who was it who said "every film is a missed opportunity"?
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