Star – Chadwick Boseman
Genre – Sports Biopic
Run Time – 128 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Awards – 3 Wins & 18 Nominations
Amazon – £5.22 DVD £15.99 Blue Ray
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42 is the dramatized story of America’s first black Major League baseball player, Jackie Robinson, his shirt number for the Dodgers being 42. It’s a story I didn’t know and keen to learn and as Hollywood do the sports biopic so well I was looking forward to it. America loves their baseball movies and this one broke the record for highest box office opening weekend by a baseball movie. The previous record holder was The Benchwarmers (2006). The 42 box office didn’t reflect that with its budget of $40 million bringing in just $57million and, ironically its black themes chipping off its true story appeal, I guess. Its super handsome star Chadwick Boseman, no doubt, found a female audience.
Out of respect for Robinson, in 1997, baseball commissioner Bud Selig universally retired Jackie number, 42. The handful of players still wearing the number were allowed to keep it. As of the film's release, only Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees continued to wear 42 on a daily basis. Rivera retired at the end of the 2013 season. As of 2014 (barring special requests or approval), no major league player will wear #42. The Dodgers and Robinson would go on to win the 1955 World Series.
• Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson
• Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey
• Andre Holland as Wendell Smith
• Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher
• John C. McGinley as Red Barber
• Toby Huss as Clyde Sukeforth
• Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese
• Alan Tudyk as Ben Chapman
• Nicole Beharie as Rachel Isum Robinson
• C. J. Nitkowski as Dutch Leonard
• Brett Cullen as Clay Hopper
• Gino Anthony Pesi as Joe Garagiola Sr.
• Ryan Merriman as Dixie Walker
• T. R. Knight as Harold Parrott
• Hamish Linklater as Ralph Branca
• Brad Beyer as Kirby Higbe
• Jesse Luken as Eddie Stanky
• Max Gail as Burt Shotton
• Peter MacKenzie as Happy Chandler
• Linc Hand as Fritz Ostermueller
‘Maybe tomorrow, we'll all wear 42, so nobody could tell us apart’.
Brooklyn Dodgers team executive Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) has a plan. He wants to break the color barrier and employ the leagues first black player. There is no law to stop that but there are no black players, even though black people make up a lot of the fans back then. His motives appear for profit but there are easier ways to make money in racially split America.
Ricky sends his scouts out to the minor leagues where black players are allowed to play and decides on second baseman Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs. Robinson’s journey is being followed and chronicled by black sportswriter Wendell Smith (Andre Holland), who also recommends Robinson to Rickey.
To ease him into the firestorm to come he signs him with their feeder club for the 1946 season, the Montreal Royals, on $600 per month and a $3,500 signing bonus. To celebrate he weds his beautiful girl Rachel (Nicole Beharie). But he is the only black player there and the racism soon starts, from the crowd and the team mates. It’s not pleasant.
He battles through the torment, and season, and does enough to get his contract with the Dodgers. Jacky has a bad temper though and they will taunt him into reacting so they can kick him out of the sport. Most of the Dodgers team soon sign a petition, stating they refuse to play with Robinson, but manager Leo Durocher (Christopher Meloni) insisting Robinson will play in the main team. But dark forces are at play and Durocher is suspended by Happy Chandler (Peter MacKenzie), the Commissioner of Baseball, for actions in his personal life, leaving the Dodgers without a manager to start the regular season. They are trying every trick to derail Branch Rickey.
Retired coach Burt Shotton (Max Gail) agrees to manage the team and tries to tackle the racism head on – on and off the field. As much as the players hate Jackie they know deep down he is there on merit and can play some serious ball, and that means they will win games as they slowly come around and climb the table. But it’s still a long battle ahead as the racist abuse still gushes out of the visiting crowd and the opposing teams, especially the Philadelphia Royals as the play-offs near.
I liked this one and as far as sports biopic’s go this is enjoyable and entertaining. Like I said the Americans are good at these. They love their sporting history, especially baseball, and respect it by bringing us these true stories to the big screen. America are the only country that can do good sports biopic’s to be fair, The Damned United the only decent one from the United Kingdom I can recall. And it’s a great true story to be told and Jackie Robinson an amazing man of courage and strength -im and can play some decent baseball.
Branch Rickey is Harrison Ford's first film role playing a real life character. He is getting old now and no longer the handsome action hero and playing dads and important old grey men from now on in. Four players from the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers were still alive when this film came out and two camoe: Tommy Brown, Ralph Branca, Marv Rackley, and Don Lund all involved in some way in the film to capture the mood back then.
The film has some artistic license to create tension and drama. While Robinson’s career with the Montreal Royals is not explored, Jackie Robinson was a hugely popular player with Montreal fans – both black and white - and after leading the team to the league championship it was noted: ..."probably the only day in history, that a black man ran from a white mob that had love, not lynching, on its mind." I’m guessing it was not too clever at the dodgers though. The film doesn’t really get too deep and political on that and remains a Disney style approach with the drama all about how Robinson deals with the racism, and eventually the team.
Chadwick Boseman in the lead is a seriously handsome dude on screen and going to be a huge star and the next Denzel Washington. Jackie’s legacy could not be in better hands. Everyone else stands back and leaves it to him with two dimensional turns to get the message across on just how terrible racism is, which we all knew. It would have been a stronger film for holding white America to account in the film back then but I guess those Trump rednecks wouldn’t go see it if they did make a smarter movie. But it’s a great story to tell and although not about sport so much there is a Hollywood ending to enjoy to round of an entertaining movie.
Imdb.com – 7.5 /10.0 (69,234votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 79% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 72% critic’s approval
Not that many.
-Behind the Scenes-
Cast & Crew talks about their movie.
San Francisco Chronicle –‘A dramatization of what Robinson did and what it required, 42 will not disappoint’.
The Mail –‘It's not easy to play a stoic, but Boseman anchors the movie, and when he smiles, 42, already such a warm story of such cold times, gets even brighter.
TIME Magazine: The style of the film, lush and traditional, is nothing special, but the takeaway, a daily struggle for dignity, is impossibly moving’.
Time Out: ‘As a fond gesture to a country coming out of the dark ages, 42 is a good-hearted attempt at Robinson's story regardless of the historical realities it chose to gloss over’.
Film Comment Magazine: ‘I wanted to kick Ford/Rickey into next Christmas, and you can add the movie. Its corny triumphalism is barely bearable’.
Financial Times ;’Rousing climaxes, mostly well-earned, arrive every half-hour’.
Guardian: ‘This honorable and enlightening film pays due respect to Jackie Robinson -- a sports legend and courageous American hero’.
National Newspaper Publishers Association :’The Jackie Robinson story has always been more than deserving of a gaudy big-screen telling, and Helgeland is happy to oblige’.
Cinemixtape: ‘A hero without imperfections can be problematic. But Jackie's nobility is more than well-earned, and tarnishing it for the sake of balance would be churlish. Besides, there's enough evil at loose among the white characters’.
Maclean's Magazine :’Boseman gives a potentially star-making performance, while Ford, at 70, segues smoothly from firm-jawed action hero to elder-statesman character actor’.
Sacramento News & Review:’It comes with a smooth burnished period look, and it tells a smooth and burnished story. Helgeland has good intentions but not much new to say about a real-life hero who wears his nobility and torment mostly as symbols’.
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The Cornerhouse has a good atmosphere, and is simple and clean. It is more suited to older middle class individuals, as the price of beer in there breaks the bank. It is very expensive, but at the same time is classy, so you pay for the experience.
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