Movie critic Leonard Maltin rates this film at 4 stars (****), his highest rating. On that basis, and as a longtime baseball fan, I gave it a look on TCM. Now I'm confused! Why is it rated at 4 stars? I puzzled at this odd portrayal of a star athlete by Gary Cooper as awkward, stiff, lacking in self-confidence, and ungraceful in the extreme on a baseball diamond. Off the field Gehrig was shown as jittery, socially inept and gullible, with darting eyes that displayed his apparent suspicions of the world around him. How he managed to charm his girlfriend is anyone's guess. Also wasn't Cooper a little old to be playing a guy in his early 20's when he reaches the big leagues? Is this really how Gehrig was in real life? Also, I could never figure out the character Sam, played by a barely recognizable Walter Brennan. Was he a friend, mentor, agent, sportswriter or what? At first I assumed he was an employee of the Yankees. He and Lou and Lou's wife wind up spending a lot of time together. One positive note: I liked Theresa Wright very much as his faithful wife: she was the only character in this film that rang true for me. Oddly, exactly what Gehrig's physical ailment was is never revealed, nor is there any discussion of it. Yes, today we know what it was (ALS) but I thought it strange that the film didn't deal at all with the diagnosis. All in all, I rate Pride of the Yankees at 5 stars out of 10.
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