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Jackie Robinson plays himself in this true story of the man who broke Major League Baseball's color barrier.
In 1928, Jackie Robinson, a young African-American boy who loves baseball, is given an old, worn out glove by a white man. Jackie keeps the glove as he grows up. In 1937, while representing Pasadena Junior College, Jackie breaks the national junior college broad jump record, which was previously held by his brother Mack. After Jackie leads his conference in touchdowns, UCLA football coach Bill Spaulding recruits him despite complaints from a colleague that "colored boys" have been getting too many athletic scholarships. Although Jackie receives Honorable Mention on the All-American team, he tells his girl friend, Rae Isum, that he wants to leave school and look for a full-time job so that they can get married. After discussing it with his mother, who wants him to graduate, Jackie talks with Mack, now a street sweeper despite his college degree. Jackie is skeptical about the value of a degree because schools are not hiring "colored coaches." Jackie remains in school, but his applications for college coaching positions are rejected. During World War II, he is drafted and becomes an athletic director in the army, while rising to the rank of lieutenant. After the war, Jackie plays baseball for the Black Panthers, a team in the Negro professional leagues and is soon introduced to the indignities of segregated life on the road. When Brooklyn Dodger scout Clyde Sukeforth asks Jackie to meet with the Dodgers, Jackie, not believing the man, fails to show up for the train he is to take to New York. Sukeforth finally convinces Jackie that his offer is real, and he travels to Brooklyn to meet with owner Branch Rickey. Rickey tells Jackie that because of setbacks caused by the war, he has sent scouts to look at players in Mexico, Cuba and in other Latin American countries, in addition to untapped sources in the U.S. Rickey warns Jackie that he will have to take insults, name-calling and dirty play, and not fight back, but do his job with hits, stolen bases and fielding. Jackie calls his mother in Pasadena, who suggests he seek a minister's advice. Reverend Carter, a black minister, encourages Jackie to accept the Dodgers' offer to join the Royals, their minor league club in Montreal, despite possible repercussions, and reminds Jackie that every step forward has meant a fight for their people. Jackie tells Rae that they can get married as soon as he succeeds, but Rae does not want to wait, and they decide to face the challenge together. At the Montreal spring training camp in Sanford, Florida, Jackie faces hostility from manager Clay Hopper and some of the players. Rae, having heard white men talk threateningly about Jackie, is afraid to go downtown or to the beach. When an exhibition game against the Dodgers is canceled because of a city ordinance prohibiting sports events between "white and colored," Jackie asks Rickey if he would like to call the experiment off, but Rickey refuses. On the day before the league opener in Jersey City, International League President Shaunnessy warns Rickey that having Robinson play may provoke racial fighting. Rickey replies that he believes that baseball teaches fair play and, if Shaunnessy's fears prove to be true, his whole life has been wasted. Boos greet Jackie when he bats the first time; however, he beats out a bunt, steals second, goes to third on a bad throw and then scores after provoking the pitcher to balk. On his next turn at bat, Jackie hits a home run, and at the end of the game, Rickey proclaims Jackie's to be the best first game any ballplayer has ever had. The next week, after a game in a southern city, three white racists verbally abuse Jackie at the players' entrance, but his teammates walk him safely away. As he plays in other cities, Jackie experiences more abuse from spectators and opposing players, some of whom ask him for a shoeshine, call him "Sambo" and sloppily eat watermelon. At the end of the season, however, Shaunnessy asks Jackie to stay in Montreal, where he has drawn record crowds. Hopper, who initially viewed Jackie's entrance into baseball with racism and skepticism, now credits the team's victory in the Little World Series to him and calls him a gentleman and the greatest competitor he has ever seen. In Panama, where the Dodgers and Montreal team train together, Rickey meets with six Dodger players who have signed a petition saying they do not want Jackie in the club. Rickey castigates them for calling themselves Americans, reminding one of them, an Italian American, that no one stopped his immigrant parents from working at their jobs. He says he will fight for the American right to play a game that is supposed to represent democracy, principles of sportsmanship and fair play. Rickey then assigns Jackie to first base and challenges a bigoted Dodger pitcher to strike out Jackie if he wants to keep him off the team. After ducking a pitch, Jackie hits a home run. Later, at Ebbets Field, in his first time at bat as a Brooklyn Dodger, Jackie hits a triple. He then goes into a slump, due in part to problems playing in an unfamiliar position at first base. For the good of the team, the former first basemann gives Jackie a tip and ends his slump. When an opposing player starts a fight on the field, the Dodger bench piles out in Jackie's support. As a measure of his acceptance, Jackie is given a locker instead of being forced to use a hanger in the corner. After the Dodgers clinch the pennant with Jackie's help, he is invited to speak in Washington before the House of Representatives. He tells the congressmen and the American public that although life can be tough for people different from the majority, democracy works for those willing to fight for it and is worth defending.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||not available|
|Release Date:||1950||Production Date:||
|Color/B&W:||Black and White||Distributions Co:||Eagle-Lion Films, Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Jewel Pictures Corp.|
|Duration(feet):||6,944 or 6,999|
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The Jackie Robinson Story
Jackie Robinson in a film about Jackie Robinson! It's evident that Robinson, although sincere, is not an actor, even as himself; solid work from Dee...
Historic baseball movie
Sure, many can criticize this film for what it didn't show, but it's amovie, not a mini-series. So, they had to gloss over the fact that his...