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Pride of the Yankees
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The Pride of the Yankees

5.0 1
Director: Sam Wood

Cast: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, George Herman "Babe" Ruth


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"It's box office poison," producer Samuel Goldwyn is said to have exclaimed when he heard the idea of filming the life story of fabled first baseman Lou Gehrig. "If people want baseball, they go to the ballpark!" The story begins before World War I, when young Lou Gehrig (played as a boy by Douglas Croft) begins dreaming of becoming a professional ballplayer. Lou's


"It's box office poison," producer Samuel Goldwyn is said to have exclaimed when he heard the idea of filming the life story of fabled first baseman Lou Gehrig. "If people want baseball, they go to the ballpark!" The story begins before World War I, when young Lou Gehrig (played as a boy by Douglas Croft) begins dreaming of becoming a professional ballplayer. Lou's immigrant parents (Elsa Jansen and Ludwig Stossel) insist that the boy attend Columbia University to become an engineer. While in college, Lou (played as a man by Gary Cooper) becomes a star athlete, and, with the help of sports journalist Sam Blake (Walter Brennan), he is signed by the New York Yankees and joins their big-league lineup in 1925; real-life Yanks Babe Ruth, Bill Dickey, Bob Meusel and Mark Koenig play themselves. He also meets and falls in love with Eleanor Twitchell (Teresa Wright) (an event that actually happened in 1933) and earns the nickname "The Iron Man of Baseball" because he never misses a game. In 1939, Lou discovers that he has a fatal neurological disease called amytrophic lateral sclerosis (now known, of course, as "Lou Gehrig's Disease"). On July 4, 1939, an emotional Lou Gehrig, a scant two years away from death, bids farewell to 62,000 of his fans and friends at Yankee Stadium. Allowing that he might have been given a bad break, he concludes his speech with "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." Deftly weaving basic facts with yards and yards of fancy, screenwriters Jo Swerling and Herman J. Mankiewicz serve up one of the most entertaining and inspiring baseball biopics. A more accurate but less dramatic adaptation of the same story, A Love Affair: The Eleanor & Lou Gehrig Story, was produced for television in 1977.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Charles Salzberg
For some, director Sam Wood's The Pride of the Yankees is the ultimate baseball movie. For others, it's the ultimate test for a heart of stone. Only a robot could keep a dry eye after hearing Gary Cooper, as ill-fated New York Yankee first baseman Lou Gehrig, announce his retirement with the words, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." Gehrig, of course, was the Iron Horse whose record 2,130-consecutive-game streak stood for decades (Baltimore's Cal Ripken finally broke The Streak in 1997.) At the tender age of 37, Gehrig succumbed to the lethal nerve disease, amyotrophic lateral aclerosis (ALS), which now bears his name. The film richly depicts Gehrig's New York childhood, his playing days at Columbia University (he never actually hit one through the window of the athletic office, as depicted in this film), and his years as a Bronx Bomber. Cameo appearances by Yankee legends Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel and Bill Dickey make the Yankee years all the more satisfying. And while writer Herman J. Mankiewicz (who wrote Citizen Kane and produced several Marx Brothers movies) may have piled on the schmaltz, Cooper's unique charm knocks it out of the park.
Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
The life and career of baseball’s "Iron Man," Lou Gehrig, are vividly dramatized in this moving 1942 biographical film, a box-office smash that earned 11 Oscar nominations and renewed respect for its star, Gary Cooper. The tall, lanky Cooper isn’t a perfect physical match for the powerfully built Gehrig, but he brings enormous dignity to the character and plays the erstwhile Yankee superstar for what he was: a quiet, modest individual who constantly strove for (and achieved) perfection in his chosen profession. Wholesome Teresa Wright is perfectly cast as Lou’s beloved Eleanor, the adoring sweetheart who kept him humble during the years of fame and remained by his side when he was crippled and eventually killed by the debilitating disease that now bears his name. Babe Ruth, the legendary Sultan of Swat, portrays himself in this stirring cinematic tribute, which takes occasional liberties with the truth but captures Gehrig’s essential nobility. Cooper’s re-creation of Lou’s memorable retirement speech ("Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth...") is still an incredibly moving scene and (unintentionally, of course) a stern rebuke to the petulant, pampered prima donnas who dominate professional baseball today. One of the greatest films ever made about our national pastime, Pride of the Yankees celebrates a man who wasn’t just a great ballplayer but a great American as well.
All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Historically, only a few baseball movies have done well at the box office, mostly because audiences are lukewarm to portrayals of heroes of the diamond. Sam Wood's The Pride of the Yankees, however, is an exception, and an improbable one: neither producer Samuel Goldwyn nor star Gary Cooper knew anything about baseball, and it seemed unlikely that anyone was going to pay money to see a story in which everyone knew the outcome. Goldwyn may not have understood the sport (he thought players got promoted up through the bases, from first base to third, and couldn't understand why Gehrig was such a great player if he was "only" a first baseman), but he understood the public better than almost any other producer. The poignancy of Gehrig's story -- he became a sports hero out of a modest upbringing only to see fate strike him down, and then accepted that fate with heroic stoicism -- might've played well at any time, but the fact that America was heading into a war in which people with would be sacrificing themselves made the material even more topical. Though Cooper threw with the wrong hand -- requiring the film to be flipped, so that players had to run from home to third and wear uniforms with reversed numbers -- he portrayed Gehrig with perhaps even more dignity than the real man possessed, and his romantic scenes with Teresa Wright as Gehrig's wife were warm and honest. Director Wood's understated, unpretentious telling of the tale captured the subject of baseball but also provided a snapshot of Americans in general, and how we wanted to think of ourselves on the eve of World War II.

Product Details

Release Date:
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Warner Home Video
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Special Features

Six Featurettes:; The Making Of The Pride Of the Yankees; The Man behind The Iron Horse; What He Left Behind; Always-The Story Behind The Song; Lou Gehrig's Disease: The Search For A Cure; Curt Schilling: A Legend On A Legend

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gary Cooper Lou Gehrig
Teresa Wright Eleanor Gehrig
George Herman "Babe" Ruth Himself
Walter Brennan Sam Blake
Dan Duryea Hank Hanneman
Elsa Janssen Mrs. Gehrig
Ludwig Stossel Pop Gehrig
Virginia Gilmore Myra
Bill Dickey Himself
Ernie S. Adams Miller Huggins
Pierre Watkin Mr. Twitchell
Mark Koenig Himself
Bill Stern Himself
Addison Richards Coach
Hardie Albright Van Tuyl
Edward Fielding Clinic Doctor
George Lessey Mayor of New Rochelle
Douglas Croft Lou Gehrig as a Boy
Edgar Barrier Hospital Doctor
Anita Bolster Sasha's Mother
Lane Chandler Player in Locker Room
Bill Chaney Newsboy
Janet Chapman Tessie
Spencer Charters Mr. Larsen
Gene Collins Billy
Eva Dennison Mrs. Worthington
Pat Flaherty Baseball Player
Rosina Galli Mrs. Fabini
Vaughan Glaser Doctor in Gehrig Home
Mary Gordon Maid
Vinton Haworth Actor
David Holt Billy at 17
John Kellogg Fraternity Boy
David Manley Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia
George McDonald Wally Pip
Matt McHugh Strength Machine Operator
Robert W. Meusel Himself
Patsy O'Byrne Scrubwoman
Ted Offenbecker Freshman
Sarah Padden Mrs. Robert
Billy Roy Joe Fabini
C. Montague Shaw Mr. Worthington
Jack Shea Hammond
Jack Stewart Ed Burrow
Dorothy Vaughan Landlady
Max Willenz Colletti
Robert Winkler Murphy
Veloz & Yolanda Specialty Dancer
Ray Noble and Orchestra Actor
Lorna Dunn Clinic Nurse
Dane Clark Fraternity Boy
Frank Faylen Yankee
Tom Neal Fraternity Boy
Harry Harvey Joe McCarthy

Technical Credits
Sam Wood Director
Irving Berlin Songwriter
Howard Bristol Set Decoration/Design
McClure Capps Art Director
Jack Cosgrove Special Effects
Perry Ferguson Art Director
Paul Gallico Original Story,Screenwriter
Samuel Goldwyn Producer
Leigh Harline Score Composer
Rene Hubert Costumes/Costume Designer
Dan Mandell Editor
Herman Mankiewicz Screenwriter
Rudolph Maté Cinematographer
William Cameron Menzies Production Designer
Ray Noble Score Composer
Jo Swerling Screenwriter

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Pride of the Yankees
1. Chapter 1 [7:27]
2. Chapter 2 [10:20]
3. Chapter 3 [6:22]
4. Chapter 4 [6:38]
5. Chapter 5 [8:51]
6. Chapter 6 [5:24]
7. Chapter 7 [12:12]
8. Chapter 8 [10:16]
9. Chapter 9 [7:38]
10. Chapter 10 [7:15]
11. Chapter 11 [3:23]
12. Chapter 12 [7:10]
13. Chapter 13 [4:50]
14. Chapter 14 [8:40]
15. Chapter 15 [8:24]
16. Chapter 16 [3:49]
17. Chapter 17 [9:38]
18. Chapter 18 [:01]

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The Pride of the Yankees 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Mrs_Tea More than 1 year ago
This is not so much a "great baseball movie" as it is a great movie about a guy who happened to be a great baseball player and an outstanding human being. Pick all the nits you like about the baseball scenes - and there are many, many nits to pick, starting with the awkward fact that the star, Gary Cooper, was a righthander who knew little about the game (Gehrig was a lefty, as the script most unwisely belabors in one "comic-relief" scene). The movie stands or falls on how well the core of the character, Lou Gehrig, is displayed on the screen - and on that score it stands tall, very tall. Gary Cooper had a rare and special talent: the ability to portray Good as a strong positive force rather than passive absence of evil intent. No one has ever done it better. It did sharply limit his range - there were roles he could not take, and some he did take that he shouldn't have. But within those limitations he was masterful, and never more so than in this film.