• My main reason for seeing 'The Winning Team' was Doris Day as part of my quest to see all the films of hers not yet seen. 'The Winning Team' is also based on an interesting person with an interesting if tragic life, and personally am of the opinion that Ronald Reagan has shown here and in other performances that he was not that bad an actor.

    'The Winning Team' does stray from the truth significantly from the middle of the film, which will disappoint those who want a truthful account of his life and career. Although it was a pity somewhat, it didn't ruin it for me having seen enough biographical dramas to kind of expect that it would be the case. With that being said, there are some truthful elements too.

    While the alcoholism and problems with vision and blackouts were covered, it was a shame that the epilepsy was pretty much trivialised to ignored. It is in some way not an easy condition to act out, but not addressing it (and it would have been courageous of the film to do so for a condition that needed awareness raised and still met with ignorance, speaking as an epileptic myself) and not exploring it enough was a missed opportunity when it was such a big part of his health difficulties.

    A few scenes didn't come over as necessary either and seemed tacked on. The "Ol' Saint Nicholas" seemed like it was put in just to have Day sing, its inclusion felt tacked on, it was completely pointless and it wasn't even a particularly good song despite Day singing it beautifully and doing what she could. The direction was competent enough if unspectacular mostly and workmanlike at best, gets the job done but in need of more spark.

    On the other hand, despite not being lavish, 'The Winning Team' is a good-looking film and is well photographed. It did also benefit from the inclusion of stock footage which makes one nostalgic and leaves them quite moved. The music is a good fit and doesn't intrude.

    Generally the writing flows well and packs some emotional punch. The story moves along at a comfortable pace without dragging or being jumpy, it does become thin and suddenly-stop-like in the second half but the ending is uplifting and moving.

    Reagan occasionally overdoes the mannerisms but on the most part it is a solid performance that shows a lot of commitment that ranks among his better ones. Day shows that when given the chance that she was as skilled in drama as she is in comedy and musicals, even though the character at times frustrates you she gives a sensitive performance and shares good chemistry with Reagan. Frank Lovejoy is good support.

    In conclusion, a winner mostly if not exceptional. 7/10 Bethany Cox