And that is giving "The Spirit of West Point" all the best of it. Ranking this dead last at the bottom of the list of sports movies---a genre where the list of "greats" can be counted on one hand, and the "goods" wouldn't exhaust the digits on the other hand---has nothing to do with the non-acting ability of the two leads, West Point All-Americans Glenn Davis and Felix "Doc" Blanchard, who certainly didn't lose their amateur status by taking money for appearing in this opus. At that, I give both of them the edge over Glen Campbell in "True Grit." Once past the newsreel footage, (of which, thank goodness, there was a bunch), the only touches of reality came in the use of real names. Prime example of non-reality can be seen in the last part of the film, where the undefeated Black Knights of the Hudson are clinging to a last-quarter three-point lead and Old Navy has the ball. Robert Shayne, as Army coach Colonel Earl "Red" Blaik, checks the wrist watch on his left wrist and announces, "Two minutes to go." Yes, he got that piece of information from his wrist watch. He is the coach, and he is also keeping the game-clock data on his wrist? Hey, no wonder Army won in those days. Makes one think that if they had been behind, he might have proclaimed "Two hours to go." The somewhat-more-than-football-savvy Texas audience watching this one at Lubbock's Lindsey in 1947, mostly doubled up with laughter through the first 70 minutes, gave a loud and relieved round of whooping applause at finding out this turkey only had two minutes to go. The manager said he had only heard a Lubbock audience applaud anything in a movie just once before; that coming in 1939 when Mr. Gable informed Miss Leigh that he frankly didn't give a damn. He opined that the "two minutes" applause lasted at least two minutes longer than the "damn" applause. Wouldn't doubt it a bit.
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