13 March 2005 | stovers
Extraordinary film of the life of Brooklyn Dodger star, Roy Campanella .
Extraordinary film of the life of Brooklyn Dodger star, Roy Campanella, with a solid performance by Paul Winfield as Campanella. Roy campanella was baseball's's first black catcher, World Series champion, and Hall of Famer, he is a legend. This is a great sports movie in the tradition of Pride of the Yankees, as it tells the story of a baseball hero whose life has turned tragic. Louis Gossett Jr. does a fine job as Sam, Campanella's physiotherapist.
The movie begins with Campanella wrestling with his decision of whether to stay in Brooklyn, or relocate his family to Los Angeles with his team, the Dodgers. This illustrates how petty ones problems are as compared to other peoples lot in life, and sets the stage for what is to come. The film uses flashbacks effectively to tell Roy's story. Ruby Dee is excellent as Campanella's wife, who tries to cope with the struggles her husband is going through. This film uses actual Dodger baseball film, and it is surprising how close Winfield resembles Campanella!
Unlike the Lou Gerig, Gary Cooper film, this film focuses more on Campanella's rehabilitation than with his glory years. This creates a moving film that shows Roy's extraordinary courage in the face of despair. Without giving anything away, there is a scene with just Winfield and a fly that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Anyway, why have I not heard of this film before, and why is it not mentioned on lists of great sports movies? Don't miss this classic film!