Biopic traces the life of Lou Gehrig, famous baseball player who played in 2130 consecutive games before falling at age 37 to ALS, a deadly nerve disease which now bears his name. Gehrig is followed from his childhood in New York until his famous 'Luckiest Man' speech at his farewell day in 1939. Written by
Jerry Milani <email@example.com>
When Samuel Goldwyn began looking for someone to play Lou Gehrig in "Pride of the Yankees," he quizzed baseball writers. The Sporting News polled the fans, and their pick was Cleveland Indians pitcher Johnny Humphries because of the strong facial resemblance. Goodwyn considered the candidates but instead chose a seasoned pro actor Gary Cooper for the role. See more »
When Lou was a young boy, when he hit the ball through the window, the ball clearly didn't come off his bat. See more »
[his farewell speech]
Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.
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The Life of Lou Gehrig: Baseball Player and American Hero.
A touching and emotional experience about the life of late-New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig (played brilliantly by the always excellent Gary Cooper, Oscar-nominated). By 1939 Gehrig was saying farewell to baseball prematurely due to a rare muscle disorder that today bears the hero's name. Shortly after Gehrig's famous speech, he would indeed pass away. "The Pride of the Yankees" (made less than three years after his death) is a moving tribute that is first-class in every way imaginable. We meet the character as a young boy whose strict mother wants him to be an engineer. As the years pass though he cannot deny his love of the grand old game. Sportswriter Walter Brennan (who was always outstanding as well) becomes the biggest supporter of Gehrig, even though Gehrig seems out-of-place in the big city at times and seems more concerned about baseball than anything else (which bothers some inside of the Yankees circle, mainly due to Babe Ruth's famous antics). As the years pass, championships come and a constant is always Gehrig who set a record with 2,130 consecutive games played (Cal Ripken, Jr. would later break that record in 1995). He finds love with a young woman from Chicago (Oscar-nominee Teresa Wright) and it appears that happiness is all that the couple will experience. Sadly that would not be the case though. Sam Wood's heart-felt direction and a focused screenplay (which is a bit sappy at times) just add an odd element of grace that endears the film to most all movie-goers. Babe Ruth does play himself here and is a surprisingly excellent performer who allows himself to be taken out of the spotlight to tell Gehrig's story. He ends up being a really solid supporting actor. I do admit that "The Pride of the Yankees" is slightly flawed. Some things seem a bit staged (most notably the young child in the hospital), but overall the film is right on target. Anyone who loves baseball, loves movies and has feelings (whether good, bad or indifferent) about the Yankees should definitely give "The Pride of the Yankees" an at-bat. It is a stunning experience that is suitable for the whole family and teaches the whole audience about love, friendship, compassion, life, death and heroism. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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