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The movie is about Chicago White Sox pitcher Monty Stratton (Jimmy Stewart), who in the 1930s, compiled a 37-19 won-loss record in three seasons. After he became the winningest right-hander in the American League, his major league career ended prematurely when a hunting accident in 1938 forced doctors to amputate his right leg. With a wooden leg and his wife Ethel's (June Allyson) help, Stratton made a successful minor league comeback in 1946, continuing to pitch in minor leagues throughout the rest of the 1940s and into the 1950s. Written by
James Stewart and June Allyson look twice as old as the roles they are playing! Still, "The Stratton Story" is enjoyable. In the early scenes, Mr. Stewart's frame, and natural acting style, make him somewhat believable as a boy interested in baseball. Ms. Allyson doesn't try to play too "girlish"; instead, she wisely acts her part as a woman complimenting (by being in love with) Stewart's character.
Allyson, and her character, save the film the moment she appears, the focus is on the pair's relationship, and not on baseball. The Stewart/Allyson relationship is really what makes the film work, I thought -- the Stewart character could have been a golfer, doctor, whatever The scenes beginning with Stewart and Allyson in separate beds, backs turned, and unable to sleep, have an understated dignity.
Stewart and Allyson's nice performances are enhanced by: Frank Morgan, aka "The Wizard of Oz"; and Agnes Moorehead, Endora from "Bewitched". The later baseball scenes are more realistic, and fun to watch. It's strange to see the older baseball style; today, many of the players would be pumped up with steroids. I wish the sport would return to being more based on fun and skills.
Love is not something a surgeon can cut.
******* The Stratton Story (1949) Sam Wood ~ James Stewart, June Allyson, Frank Morgan
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