Sunday, May 28, 2017

Giveaway and review of "Pride of the Yankees"

Long considered one of the best baseball movies ever made, "Pride of the Yankees", the story of Lou Gehrig, is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its release this summer. A book has been written about the making of the movie and I was fortunate to receive two copies of the book - one of which was earmarked for a giveaway.  So, that is what I will do to one lucky person. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below with an email address or some other contact information in order to contact you in case you are selected as the winner.  This will run for one week - leave the comment by June 4 in order to be included in the random drawing.

As for the book, it was just as good as the movie as the reader will learn a lot of inside information about the making of the film. Below is my review of "Pride of the Yankees."

“The Pride of the Yankees Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper and the Making of a Classic” by Richard Sandomir
Baseball, Yankees, movies
Publish date:
June 13, 2017
293 pages
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
When there is a celebration for the 75th anniversary of the release of a movie, it shows that the film has stood the test of time. 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the release of the movie “Pride of the Yankees” and not only the movie, but both Lou Gehrig (the movie’s subject) and Gary Cooper (the movie’s lead actor) are still remembered fondly. 

This book by Richard Sandomir is an excellent one to commemorate this anniversary. Rich with detail about not only the movie itself, the book mainly revolves around three of the most important people involved in the film – Gary Cooper, Eleanor Gehrig, and Samuel Goldwyn. 

Mrs. Gehrig was important because she had a lot of influence on what the final picture would look like.  Her opinions were needed in order to fulfill Goldwyn’s vision of the film, which he wanted to promote as a romantic picture, not a baseball one.  Both the story of Gehrig dying as a young man in the prime of his life and his change from being a “mama’s boy” to a loving and devoted husband made a great script in Goldwyn’s mind. That is the message the book delivers – and it is delivered in a well-researched and graceful manner.  The writing is smooth and graceful as the stories of these people, as well as those of other important figures such as Teresa Wright and Babe Ruth (who was unusually subdued in his role).

Many of the myths about the move are addressed in the book, such as whether Gehrig’s farewell speech at Yankee Stadium in the movie is truly the same as what Gehrig actually said on July 4, 1939.  Because of the lack of newsreel footage, that question may never be completely answered. The other big issue about the movie that the book addresses is about Cooper’s baseball scenes as it was well known that he was not an athlete, and that he was right handed while Gehrig was left handed. Through coaching by former National League batting champion Lefty O’Doul, Cooper was able to do some of the scenes, but there was also some backup work done by Babe Dahlgren. Also, the question of whether these scenes were shown as a reverse of the film’s negatives, resulting in Cooper appearing to be left-handed when he would have performed the scenes right-handed, was addressed.  That myth is debunked.

All of these, plus more in-depth insight into all aspects of the film make this book required reading for baseball fans, movie fans, romance fans and anyone else who has been touched by this movie, the speech that the movie helped make famous or by the story of Lou Gehrig.  This book is a worthy to become a part of the legend that this movie has become. 

I wish to thank Hachette Books for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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  1. Sounds like a great read.

  2. I already learned something new from the review. I too believed they had reversed the negative reel to make it look like a leftie. Harold Kasselman

    1. The book stated that it was never definitively proven as several people who are experts in this field didn't believe the negative was used. I just watched the film a couple hours ago and I was looking for something obvious to see that - I couldn't tell. Good luck in the drawing.

  3. Sounds like a fascinating read. Craig Lammers.

  4. Nice review. I can understand Goldwyn's attitude. He wanted a film that would appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Sometimes a book on the making of a film can be as interesting as the film itself.

  5. One day I'd love to see a remake of the movie to match the historical record a little better. Gary Sinise and Daniel Craig would have made interesting Gehrigs before they aged out, but there should be no lack of capable actors now to step into Gary Cooper's spikes.

  6. This book looks fantastic, I would love to win, thanks for the chance to.
    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

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