The Jackie Robinson Story (1950)
“A patriotic look into the life of the American baseball legend Jackie Robinson.”
GRADE: 3.5/5 Stars
by Richard Rey
The Jackie Robinson Story is a biographical sports drama surrounding the events of the legendary baseball player’s life. While the film is by no means a biopic masterpiece, it does stand as a tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers first basemanwho starshimself in the 1950 film.
Here wefeel the taunting and bigotry throughout rather than merely hearing about it: men shouting at Jackie, asking him for a shine while he’s in the batter’s box, sneaking a black cat into the stadium, hefting watermelons into the dugout, and an unexpected postgame visitby three violent good old boys.
Chaos and inner-turmoil is captured most effectively in a scene where we hear the racist cries of the crowd withRobinson at bat, determined to beat segregation through his ballplaying.
Though idealistic Leave It To Beaver moments appear throughout the film, there’s a certain voracity captured here that wasn’t in the 2013 release 42, truths that keep us on-edge and attentive as audience members. Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickeyconsidered leaving Jackie in the minors instead of pulling him up to the majors right away. The stat bookis standing proof thatRobinson struggled at bat during a stretch of his rookie season – so much so that a scene between Jackie and his wife Rae (Ruby Dee) discussing itis dedicated to that aspect of his early career.
In spite of the hardship, Jackie wins out in the end and so do we in this brief biopic that pays homage to baseball’s most important figure. Still,an uncensored, guts-on-the-floor movie about the real life of Jackie Robinson has yet to be made, so for now all we can do issit back and keenly anticipate its arrival.
Runtime: 76 min
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
Director: Alfred E. Green
Writer: Arthur Man, Lawrence Taylor, Louis Pollock
Starring: Jackie Robinson, Ruby Dee, Minor Watson
Theatrical Release Date: May 16, 1950
*Writers Note: Watching the 1950’s film was inspired by my viewing of the 2013 film “42”.