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
June 13, 2017
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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