Harmon of Michigan (1941)
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From his one day coach stint, his coaching with his former mentor and his breaking of football rules, and his redemption- they are all part of things that never happened. I felt duped. I guess I could have reviewed the history of Harmon and notice that the movie was filmed just a year after his playing days, but the regular viewer does not always feel the need to do a background history before viewing a broadcast.
The one thing that stands out in this film is the realism of plays on the football field. They were nicely put together and reflected the true formation at the time. This may have been a much better film had the movie been presented in a different manner and better actors were hired. Instead we are left with a film that took advantage of the situation and made a fiction out of a life that needed no embellishment.
When the film was made the attack on Pearl Harbor was still months away, so the "future" of Harmon in the film is entirely fictional. Apart from the introductory scenes of Harmon playing football for the University of Michigan, all of the colleges and pro teams in the film are fictional as are most of the people Harmon encounters. However, it's interesting to see Knox Manning, Sam Balter, Wendell Niles (noted radio and sports announcers), and others play themselves. Harmon's greatest success in real life would be as a sports announcer and newscaster.
Of interest in the film is the scene in which Harmon and his (fictional) wife discuss their future. Peggy, like Harmon, is a college graduate and a skilled writer. She wants to pursue a career in journalism, but Harmon shuts this down by proclaiming that no wife of his will work-- interesting for 1941, but fascinating from the viewpoint of 2016.
Another episode in the film deals with football injuries. Fictional Harmon devises a controversial and rather illegal play that results in serious injury to one of his players. Harmon himself suffers three broken ribs during one of his (fictional) games. What with the issue of concussions to quarterbacks, now highly publicized in the film "Concussion" starring Will Smith, this early film clearly showed that football could be hazardous to the health of its players.
Finally, there is the (fictional) scene where honeymooners Tom and Peggy stop at a gas station and ask the attendant (film pioneer Chester Conklin) to fill up the tank. The cost: $1.60. Ah, the good old days!