The Pride of the Yankees

Director: Sam Wood
Year Released: 1942
Rating: 2.0

Was there ever a more wholesome, white bread guy to ever exist than Lou Gehrig? His life was bound to be made into a movie since it had such a familiar and tragic arc: young man rises up from mediocre job helping Mom cook to professional baseball player, sets record on most consecutive games played (broke by Cal Ripkin, Jr. later on) then dies from a disease that bears his name (to quote one smarmy comedian, "Shoulda seen that one coming"). It's a love letter to the game of baseball and to Gehrig's moral purity, and that's its downfall – it's too one-sided and bland to ever make for real drama, and Cooper comes off as an idiot savant, blessed with the ability to play the game but blank-faced and clueless in every other regard. One of the reporters remarks how Gehrig, unlike the other guys, isn't a wild man off the field, but for some reason watching a corny biopic on a good boy (who takes a while to 'escape' from his Oedipus conflict – he calls his Mom 'my girl' late in life) is a lot like watching a gifted student take his SATs. 'Babe' Ruth does a good job playing himself, and his high energy level and pleasant demeanor are a real asset (it's always nice to see someone enjoying his job, his fame and his life).