The story of Baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Greenberg is told through archival film footage and interviews with Jewish and non-Jewish fans, his former teammates, his friends, and his family. As a great first baseman with the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg endured antisemitism and became a hero and source of inspiration throughout the Jewish community, not incidentally leading the Tigers to Major League dominance in the 1930s.Written by
George S. Davis <email@example.com>
The first day that Hank was in the army, he and the other recruits were lined up and the sergeant immediately began spouting some anti-Semitic remarks like "I don't want no Goldbergs and no Cohns in my unit." Whereupon Hank raised his hand and says "My name is Greenberg." and he looks at Hank 6-3, 6-4, 200, 230, he says "I didn't say anything about Greenbergs."
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As was the case with Walter Kephart of the August 12th review, I am a member of two of the three groups he said would enjoy this movie. "The Life and Times" falls into the trap of most biographies, as there was little suspense to the plot, but it was one of the more entertaining and enjoyable movies I've seen lately. It served as a reminder that, in an age of million dollar athletes and cynical fans, there have been superstars with character. Hank Greenberg could not have picked a more difficult time this century to evolve as a Jewish athlete than during the depression-era 1930's. At a time when Nazism rose in popularity on both sides of the Atlantic, in the city of Henry Ford and Father Coughlin, Hank Greenberg persevered, overcoming anti-Semitic prejudice to lead his Detroit Tigers to four American League pennants and two World Championships, all the while putting together some of the better offensive statistics in baseball. He was also loyal to his religion and his country, as was demonstrated by not playing on Yom Kippur and sacrificing five years of his playing career to serve in the United States Army during the Second World War. The other forms of media used by Aviva Kempner, including movie clips such as "Gentleman's Agreement," Mandy Patinkin's Yiddish rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and interviews with people ranging from Alan Dershowitz to Al Rosen to the late Walter Matthau all helped illustrate the Hank Greenberg story. A Toronto Star columnist considered "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg" to be the one must-see movie for the summer of 2000. It is definitely worth the price of admission, certainly moreso than nine out of ten movies playing these days.
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