Nick Bonelli, quarterback for Mid-State, proves himself an All American in the championship, but his parents die in an auto accident coming to the game. Nick decides to transfer to Sheridan...
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Nick Bonelli, quarterback for Mid-State, proves himself an All American in the championship, but his parents die in an auto accident coming to the game. Nick decides to transfer to Sheridan University to pursue his real interest of studying architecture. His decision not to join the football team causes considerable friction for him at his new alma mater, particularly with Howard Carter who sees him as a rival. Romantic interests complicate Nick's life and he must make decisions about his future. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"The All American" is a throwback film. Although it came out in 1953,
the plot is very old, as William Haines was making similar films (some
involving him being a star athlete) back in the late 1920s and early
30s. In the Haines films, the leading man is a wildly talented athlete
who is also a bit of a fathead...but who, by the end of the film, has
learned the importance of teamwork and selflessness.
Tony Curtis, oddly enough, plays an All-American football quarterback.
It's odd casting, as Curtis was a very slight-built man. Sure,
quarterbacks were smaller back in the day...but even then he seemed
awfully fragile to be playing a guy THIS talented!
When the film begins, Nick Bonelli (Curtis) is having a fantastic game.
What he doesn't know until the game is over is that his parents were
killed in an accident as they were coming to see him play! This really
has a strong impact and he decides to quit football completely and
instead go to college to become an architect. While today that might
sound nuts, back in the 1950s pro players were NOT all that well paid
and his choice was much more logical back then. But at his new college,
Sheridan, Nick is persona non grata for many reasons. First, he has a
huge chip on his shoulder--mostly because he grew up poor and his
fellow students are from privileged families. Second, he refuses to
consider playing football for the hapless Sheridan team. And, third,
he's just a bit of a jerk! But as I said, the formula has this goat
turn to a selfless hero, so the end came as no real surprise.
The film is formulaic but worth seeing. Nothing outstanding by any
stretch and his change from jerk to nice guy is oddly abrupt. Still, a
decent time passer and a chance to see a young Mamie Van Doren as well.
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