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TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Ronald Reagan [4 Discs] [DVD]
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Overview

Special Features

  • Knute Rockne All American
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Kings Row
  • Storm Warning
  • Includes: Theatrical trailer
  • The Winning Team
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

Kings Row
Knute Rockne, All American
Knute Rockne-All American was Pat O'Brien's finest hour: thanks to intensive rehearsals and numerous makeup applications, he so closely resembled the title character that, in the words of Rockne's widow, "I almost expected him to make love with me". The life of the legendary Notre Dame football coach is recounted from his childhood, when young Rockne (played by Johnny Sheffield) startles his Norwegian-immigrant parents by announcing at the dinner table that he's just been introduced to "the most wonderful game of the world." As an adult, Rockne works his way through Indiana's Notre Dame university, under the watchful and benevolent eye of Father Callahan (Donald Crisp) A brilliant student, Rockne is urged by Father Nieuwland (Albert Basserman) to become a chemist, or at the very least remain a chemistry teacher. Newly married to Bonnie Skilles (Gale Page), Rockne at first sticks to academics, but the call of the gridiron is too loud for him to ignore, and before long he has built his reputation as the winningest college football coach in America. One of his most significant contributions to the game is the invention of the tactical shift, inspired by the precision choreography of a team of nightclub dancers! Among the players nurtured by Rockne are the immortal Four Horsemen-Miller (William Marshall), Stuhlreder (Harry Lukats), Laydon (Kane Richmond) and Crowley (William Byrne), and of course the tragic George Gipp, superbly enacted by Ronald Reagan. His career continues unabated until his death in a plane crash in 1931. The screenplay of Knute Rockne-All American tends to be all highlights and little story, with several of the more dramatic passages telegraphed well in advance (just before her husband's death, Bonnie Rockne comments forebodingly "It's gotten cold all of a sudden"). Still, the film remains one of the best and most inspirational sports biographies ever made, with a heart-wrenching conclusion guaranteed to moisten the eyes of even the most jaundiced viewer. Ironically, the film's most famous scene, George Gipp's deathbed admonition to "Win one for the Gipper", was for many years excised from all TV prints due to a legal entanglement stemming from an earlier radio dramatization of Rockne's life; fortunately, this and several related scenes were restored to the film in the early 1990s. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Winning Team
Ronald Reagan delivers one of his best screen performances as baseball great Grover Cleveland Alexander in The Winning Team. The title refers to the mutually supportive relationship between Alexander and his loving wife Aimee (top-billed Doris Day); with this in mind, is it any surprise that the real Aimee Alexander served as the film's technical advisor. While the basic milestones of Alexander's career are adhered to, the film is a typical Hollywood blend of fact and fancy-plenty of fancy. While playing in the minors, Alexander is is hit on the heat by a batted ball, resulting in the dizziness and double vision that would ever after plague him. After toting up a record of 28 wins with the Philadelphia Phillies, Alex is traded to the Cubs, but World War 1 intervenes. On the battlefield, Alex suffers a recurrence of his double vision; and when he plays his first postwar game with the Cubs, he collapses on the field. Warned that his seizures will persist if he doesn't retire, Alex swears the doctor to secrecy. When the dizzy spells continue, Alex turns to drink. Branded an "alky", he descends to the depths of a House of David-style team, thence to the humiliation of carnival side shows. With the help and support of both Aimee and his old pal Rogers Hornsby (Frank Lovejoy), Alex stages a spectacular comeback, striking out Yankee Tony Lazzeri during the 1926 World Series and leading his team to victory. The script rearranges the chronology of Alexander's life, suggests incorrectly that the Lazzeri strikeout was the last play in the deciding Series game, and-most amusingly-depicts the unloveable Rogers Hornsby as a 100 % sweetheart. Otherwise, The Winning Team provides an excellent showcase for Ronald Reagan-though in later years he expressed some reservations about the script, noting that, by adhering to Warner Bros' insistence that the word "epilepsy" never be spoken, the picture confused audiences as to the true nature of Alexander's affliction. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Storm Warning
In Storm Warning, Ginger Rogers stars as a model visiting relatives in an unnamed small town. She happens to witness the beating death of a man at the hands of the KKK. Rogers soon discovers that the whole town is controlled by this vigilante group, and that her loutish brother-in-law Steve Cochran is one of the group's members. D.A. Ronald W. Reagan is the man who breaks the stranglehold of the hooded terrorists--through the simple expedient of walking into one of their meetings and calmly identifying each of them by name. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Ann Sheridan
    Ann Sheridan - Randy Monoghan
  • Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan - Drake McHugh
  • Betty Field
    Betty Field - Cassandra Tower
  • Charles Coburn
    Charles Coburn - Dr. Henry Gordon
  • Claude Rains
    Claude Rains - Dr. Alexander Tower
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