"I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me. All I a
J. H. Minde | Boca Raton, Florida and Brooklyn, New York | 09/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE JACKIE ROBINSON STORY stars Jackie Robinson himself. Ruby Dee plays his wife Rachel. This 1950 film is a very bowdlerized account of Robinson's life and the struggles he faced integrating Major League Baseball. Jackie played for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947 to 1956 (their halcyon years), and was one of the most creative players on the field.
The baseball diamond, however, was simply the stage where Jackie played out, in complete isolation at first, one of the most dramatic social transformations in American history. By stepping onto the grass at Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, Jackie singlehandedly thrust the issue of civil rights into the forefront of the American consciousness. He paid a terrible price in verbal and psychological abuse, injuries inflicted by other players, death threats, and more. He prevailed, and America is a better place because of it, but Jackie's life was undoubtedly shortened by the ordeal. He died in 1972, blind and halt from diabetes, white haired and aged far beyond his 52 years.
This film is crucially important because it is a document of Robinson's struggle, no matter how gentrified for a film audience. It is unique, because Robinson portrays himself. It is timely, as Robinson's field debut occurred only three years before the film's release, and virtually everyone represented in the film was still directly involved with Robinson. This is Hollywood's sincere attempt to come to grips with the impending Civil Rights Movement, a Movement spearheaded by Robinson.
Robinson is an unpolished actor whose great talent is his intensity. Even though this is a film, and even though this illuminates past events, Robinson is living through every minute of every experience, not acting at all. The film has an air of having been hastily thrown together, but despite the roughnesses of its 8mm home movie feel, this film is compelling to watch.
No one can really understand what Jackie Robinson, "the loneliest man in baseball" felt in his gut, but we can honor him, and have. He was a trailblazer. His talent was legendary. His number, 42, has been retired throughout the Major Leagues. He was the first Rookie of the Year, a Most Valuable Player, a Hall of Famer, and posted impressive statistics even in his rookie year when the possibility of his being shot from the stands was an ugly, very real, possibility. He may have been the loneliest man in baseball, but he was also the bravest man in America for the longest stretch of time."
Classy B movie
S J Buck | Kent, UK | 09/22/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a film biography of the legendary Jackie Robinson. The first black, major league Baseball player. It was a brave film to make in 1950, considering that racial segregation and the colour bar were all still in place. However an element of hypocrisy spoils the film at the end when the statement "This can only happen in a free country like America..." is thrown in, presumably to placate the white audience of the time.
Robinson plays himself, and whilst he's not a great actor, he does a decent job. If the film is anywhere near the truth he was, as well as being a hugely talented sportsman, a dignified and intelligent man who despite frequent provocation ignored the abuse (monkey noises etc) and went about his business. The rest of the cast are of a similar standard and the script is crisp, because the film is only 76mins long.
Its the message of the movie that will remain with you long after you've seen it, even if the ending is a bit hypocritical. Well worth buying."