Smith of Minnesota


1h 6m 1942

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 15, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 6m
Film Length
5,936ft

Synopsis

Columbia Pictures producer Edward Northrup assigns screenwriter Charles Hardy to write a film based on the gridiron exploits of All-American running back Bruce Smith, despite Charlie's insistence that he hates football and knows nothing about it. Northrup tries to impress upon Charlie that Bruce, one of the University of Minnesota's finest players, is also a "regular" guy, who maintains a B+ average and is devoted to his family and community. Charlie complains that football films always have trite, formulaic plots, but Northrup nonetheless sends him to Faribault, Minnesota to meet Bruce and his family. Charlie assumes that Faribault is a hick town with only one train arrival per day and so does not alert the Smiths as to his arrival time. The Smiths eventually tire of meeting trains and Charlie is greeted by newspaperwoman Gwyn Allen, who is bemused by Charlie's condescending attitude toward the town, the Smiths and his assignment. Gwyn takes Charlie to her newspaper office, where she tries to explain the importance of football to Minnesota, the rivalry between Minnesota and Michigan, and Bruce's standing in the community. Gwyn then drives Charlie to the Smith house, where the nervous family greets their celebrated guest. Gwyn introduces Charlie to Bruce, his older brother George, younger brother Wayne, sister June, mother Olive and father Lu. The elder Smiths insist that Charlie stay at the family home during his visit, and Charlie reluctantly agrees, although during dinner the outspoken June quickly sees that he does not like the family. After dinner, Bruce leaves for a speaking engagement, and Charlie must make do with interviewing George, who explains that thirty-two years previously, Lu played football for Minnesota, and because he was forced to play an unfamiliar position during a crucial game against Michigan, Minnesota lost. Lu swore then that he would have a son who would help Minnesota triumph over Michigan, and his dream came true with Bruce. As the next few days pass, Charlie is stymied in his attempts to speak to Bruce, who is busy coaching kids from various schools, and Gwyn becomes increasingly angered by his ill-concealed contempt for the sincere, plain people of Faribault. Gwyn introduces Charlie to Gus Boosalis, a restaurant owner who recalls how Lu bought Bruce his first football when he was two years old. Still believing that he must come up with a gimmick, Charlie gets frustrated and asks Northrup to relieve him of the assignment. Northrup orders him to stay on the project, and Charlie starts to get inspired after he speaks with Olive, whose fortitude and concern over her son's many injuries impresses Charlie with Bruce's devotion to his sport and how well the family works as a team. When Charlie finally talks with Bruce, he describes many of his games, his respect for his coaches, and his feelings about being elected team captain and being the first Minnesota player to receive the Heisman Trophy. A Smith family friend shows Charlie film footage from some of Bruce's games, including an exciting match against Michigan during which Bruce ran for eighty yards for the winning touchdown. Also shown is Bruce's last game in 1941. Injuries have squashed his chances of playing professionally, and after the screening, Lu comforts Bruce, who is despondent about the end of his football career. Bruce and George have enlisted in the Navy, and Lu reminds Bruce that he will now be playing for a more important team. Cheered up, Bruce laughs when Lu jokes about having a grandson carry on the Smith football tradition. Now that he has been won over by Bruce and the Smiths, Charlie easily writes his screenplay in Hollywood, and soon after completing it, he returns to Faribault. There, Charlie chats with Bruce, now in his Navy uniform, and renews his burgeoning romance with Gwyn.

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 15, 1942
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 6m
Film Length
5,936ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Bruce Smith was an All-American running back who played for the University of Minnesota football team. Although the CBCS lists Arline Judge's character as "Glyn," she is called "Gwyn" in the film. A Hollywood Reporter production chart erroneously included Bruce Bennett in the cast. A Hollywood Reporter news item notes that some scenes were shot at the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, CA. A Columbia publicity article contained in the production files for this film at the AMPAS Library notes that Jeff Cravath, who served as technical advisor on the picture, was a football coach at USC.