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Babe Ruth Story
     

The Babe Ruth Story

Director: Roy Del Ruth

Cast: William Bendix, Claire Trevor, Charles Bickford

 
The Plan 9 From Outer Space of baseball biopics, The Babe Ruth Story is definitely in the "So Bad It's Good" category. An outrageously miscast William Bendix stars as George Herman "Babe" Ruth, who as depicted herein is a childish, misunderstood oaf who happens to be one of the greatest ballplayers of all time. With an almost perverse disregard for the

Overview

The Plan 9 From Outer Space of baseball biopics, The Babe Ruth Story is definitely in the "So Bad It's Good" category. An outrageously miscast William Bendix stars as George Herman "Babe" Ruth, who as depicted herein is a childish, misunderstood oaf who happens to be one of the greatest ballplayers of all time. With an almost perverse disregard for the facts, the film chronicles Babe's school days in Baltimore, his brief tenure with the Baltimore Orioles, his glory days with the New York Yankees, his precedent-breaking 60th homer, his "called shot" of 1932, his fall from grace with the Boston Braves, and his slow death from an unnamed but obviously cancerous illness. Along the way, Ruth marries nightclub performer Claire Hodgson (Claire Trevor) with whom he spends many happy years (the earlier Mrs. Ruth, Helen Woodford, is ignored as if she never existed, as is Babe's daughter Dorothy). It's difficult to remember all of the film's howling innacuracies, which include Claire Hodgson's performance of "Singin' in the Rain" ten years before the song was written, the Yankee Stadium billboard for Ballantine Beer in the middle of Prohibition, and Babe's promise to a dying child that he'd hit a homer during the 1932 World Series (this famous incident actually occured in 1927, and the kid wasn't dying). It's also fun to note that Babe's spiritual mentor Brother Matthias (Charles Bickford) remains steadfastly the same age from 1914 to 1948. It was probably to much to expect the truth from coscripter Grantland Rice, who during his newspaper career spent most of his time covering up Ruth's many sexual and alcoholic peccadilloes "for the good of baseball." Despite its multitude of flaws, The Babe Ruth Story is worth sitting through if only for the jaw-dropping final scene (which is even more ridiculous than the earlier vignette in which a Ruth home run enables a crippled child to walk for the first time!) Yes, it's awful, almost stupefyingly so, but The Babe Ruth Story is an experience not to be missed.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
It almost goes without saying that Hollywood biopics play fast and loose with the truth, but the nonsense that is passed off as The Babe Ruth Story is really too much. For some viewers, that will be just fine, as the ridiculous lengths that the creators go to provide plenty of unintentional laughs and mountains of campy amusement, as in Ruth's over-the-top concern for a dog injured by a line drive or the ability given to the ball player to apparently create medical miracles. But those who are actually fans of "the Babe" will be horrified at what screenwriters George Callahan and Bob Considine have wrought. For that matter, fans of halfway decent drama will be equally horrified, for the screenplay is one outrageous cliché after another, and the dialogue is at times painful enough to stop a clock. It might not have mattered so much had "the Bambino" been brought to life in a performance of magnitude or even something resemblance verisimilitude. But William Bendix, a fine character actor in most circumstances, is totally out of his league here. He struggles mightily, but he simply doesn't have any insight into the character and his performance is embarrassing. Claire Trevor and Charles Bickford come off much better, but their contributions can't save Babe.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/05/2010
UPC:
0883316278482
Original Release:
1948
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:46:00
Sales rank:
7,997

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
William Bendix George Herman "Babe" Ruth
Claire Trevor Claire Hodgson Ruth
Charles Bickford Brother Mathias
Sam Levene Phil Conrad
William Frawley Jack Dunn
Gertrude Niesen Nightclub Singer
Stanley Clements Western Union Boy
Lloyd Gough Baston
Matt Briggs Col. Ruppert
Paul Cavanagh Dr. Menzies
Tony Taylor The Kid
Richard Lane Coach
Mark Koenig Himself
Harry Wismer Sports Announcer
Melvin Allen Sports Announcers
H.V. Kaltenborn News Announcer
Johnny Grant Reporter
Pat Flaherty Bill Corrigan
Knox Manning Narrator
Robert Ellis Babe Ruth as a Boy
Oliver Crawford Actor

Technical Credits
Roy Del Ruth Director
George Callahan Screenwriter
Bob Considine Screenwriter
Richard Heermance Editor
Joseph Kaufman Producer
Philip Tannura Cinematographer
Edward Ward Score Composer

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