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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
This was a nice baseball story, nothing exceptional but Jimmy Stewart's presence in the title roll elevates the movie.
Jimmy looks a bit old to be playing a rookie pitcher, and he doesn't throw like a professional, but at least he isn't pathetic in that regard like some of the other classic-era actors who attempted to do so (you know who they are). They faked enough of the pitching scenes here to get away with Stewart's baseball shortcomings.
Anyway, it's just as much a human-interest story as it is a baseball movie, the story of "Monty Stratton" (Stewart) and his girlfriend-then-bride "Ethel," played warmly by June Allyson. She and Frank Morgan, who plays the scout to discovers Monty, are excellent as the two other main actors of the film. In a supporting role, Agnes Moorehead gives her normal competent performance as Monty's mom.
On my second viewing I was surprised to discover that the key part of the film - the part which identifies this story as different from others - doesn't occur until the last third of the film. Then, after that, we see how a difficult and traumatic physical loss affects everyone and whether Monty can return to his baseball passion.
Overall, it's an entertaining film if you are a fan of Stewart's work, or a big baseball fan and most people fall into at least one of those categories. If remade today, I would suspect the script would be a little tighter, but stories were told slower 50 years ago and one has to expect that. I'm not complaining. I've enjoyed the movie both times I've watched it, and the DVD transfer is very good.
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