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Posts Tagged ‘Movie review of “42”’

Going to the movies on 42nd Street (no hookers or drug dealers in sight)

Going to the movies on 42nd Street (no hookers, porn shops, or drug dealers in sight)  Paul Goldfinger photo. ©  What a relief that the sign doesn’t say “confessions.”

 

Re-post from 2013, but this movie deserves remembering on this New Year’s Day

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger

This movie just opened, but it is clear that it will be a big hit.  We saw it on a big screen in mid-town New York in the afternoon. I love to see films in those New York theaters where the screens are huge and the sound systems spectacular, especially during the day. This multiplex has dedicated 3 screens to “42.”

Jackie Robinson steps onto the field in his new Brooklyn Dodger uniform. All photos by Paul Goldfinger. We'll use them as long as nobody yells at us.

Jackie Robinson steps onto the field in his new Brooklyn Dodger uniform. All photos off the screen by Paul Goldfinger. We’ll use them as long as nobody yells at us.

“42” is the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play major league baseball.  He broke the “color barrier” in 1947 when Branch Rickey, the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, bravely ignored considerable opposition when he brought Robinson up to the big leagues.

The movie covers the years 1945-1947. It is beautifully filmed in a subdued color palette that is just perfect for the mood of a movie that depicts a very specific time in America. The costumes and settings are just perfect.  Racism was prevalent thoroughout the country, and particularly in baseball.   As you might expect, this movie is about a talented athlete with great personal qualities who manages to put up with all sorts of abuse while performing at a high level in helping his team get to the  World Series. He accomplished this feat even after he is forced to learn a new postion–first base–and even though he was only a rookie.

The themes about personal courage and bravery  in overcoming such a powerful social force  as racism are among the most important elements in this very significant movie.

The baseball scenes are mesmerizing:  in the locker room, riding the team bus, getting caught in a run down between 2nd and 3rd, rounding the bases after a home run, a collision at home plate, and a horrifying intentional  “beanball” incident;  and there are others just as good.

Jackie Robinson is played by a fine actor named Chadwick Boseman.  But his character is not very complicated. The film doesn’t really tell us much  about Robinson’s early influences, his personal opinions or how his values were shaped. So the role for this actor doesn’t have much depth, but it is powerful nevertheless.

Branch Rickey in his Dodger office. Played by Harrison Ford.

Branch Rickey in his Dodger office. Played by Harrison Ford.

The most interesting character in the film is that of Branch Rickey who is played by Harrison Ford in a huge leap from Han  Solo (“Star Wars,”)  Jack Ryan (“Clear and Present Danger”) or  “Indiana Jones.”   Rickey was a religious man who had been planning to integrate major league baseball, and the movie digs into how he accomplished that goal and how he decided to choose Robinson to be the first.  Ford did a great job in capturing Rickey’s passion, bravery, and fortitude.   Harrison Ford may get an Oscar for this role.

This is one of the most captivating moments in baseball history. With the crowds screaming racial slurs, Pew Wee Reese, the Dodger shortstop put his arm around JR and just stood there with him until the noise quieted.

This is one of the most captivating moments in baseball history. With the crowd screaming racial slurs, Pew Wee Reese, the Dodger shortstop, put his arm around Robinson and just stood there with him until the noise quieted.

Take your kids to see this film. You don’t need to be a baseball fan to enjoy it.  The “N word” is used a lot, but it is necessary, and kids should hear it.

Fans shower Robinson with abuse.

Fans shower Robinson with abuse.

 

A SELECTION FROM THE  “42” SOUNDTRACK  by Mark Isham. The selection is called  “Pee Wee and Jackie.”

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