Let me just put it out there right off the bat, no pun intended, I am not a baseball fan. This movie was so touching, so innocent and so eloquent I actually have a new found appreciation for the game.
This 1942 classic was directed by Sam Wood, who was already nominated or several Oscar awards including his Direction for Goodbye Mr. Chips. The Pride of The Yankees tells the story of Lou Gehrig all the way from his childhood, to his days as a Yankee, to the reveal of his dreaded fight with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Gary Cooper portrayed Gehrig with such realism of character it moved me beyond words. Many critics have bashed Cooper for his lack of athleticism and the fact that he played the role right handed when in fact Gehrig was left handed. None of that matters when you recognize that the movie is not just about Baseball but about a unique player who played hard and loved hard until the end.
I related so much to the fact that his mother never wanted him to be a Baseball player. He was a young student at Columbia University studying engineering and that is where his mother wanted him to stay: never supporting his dream of playing. A true life plot point I could so relate to, when the movie was introduced to me by a high school boyfriend.
Obviously the scene when he gives the infamous speech about him being the luckiest man in baseball brings a lump to my throat. Especially since by this point his mother is suddenly rooting for her boy, an ironic debacle I can totally relate to being that my mom and I were on similar paths. My most treasured scene is when he takes his wife on a holiday to Florida after she is missing him so desperately. There is a tender childlike camaraderie between them that makes me love not only the man in him but the revered player he grew to be.