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Yes, the message is muddled but at least it tried to be different
While Van Heflin was 27 years-old when he made this film and the film had a very muddled message about sportsmanship, at least the film was different and it was nice to see that Heflin had already developed a nice screen presence--one of apparent grace and ease. While not a great film, it is worth a peek.
Heflin plays a star football player for a team that hasn't lost a game in three years. However, Heflin and some of the players are fat-heads. Heflin is by far the worst, as he earns extra money by selling his complementary tickets to scalpers (a clear violation of NCAA rules). When he is caught, he hypocritically starts a bizarre plot into motion--one that tries to expose the rampant rules violations condoned by the universities who should be policing themselves. Having Heflin be the man to lead this crusade is like having Bill Clinton leading a crusade against sexual harassment!! But despite this, the film is solidly entertaining throughout and although some elements of "the big game" are silly (such as spotting the other team a touchdown). It's not great entertainment and the message certainly is muddled, but somehow it manages to keep your interest.
Sadly, the reforms suggested by the film are pretty good and school pretty much are apparently the same way now as they were then. A new reworking of this story (without such a totally flawed and hypocritical hero) would be a nice to see.
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