The Pride of St. Louis (1952)

89 or 92-93 mins | Biography | April 1952

Director:

Harmon Jones

Producer:

Jules Schermer

Cinematographer:

Leo Tover

Editor:

Robert Simpson

Production Designers:

Lyle Wheeler, Addison Hehr

Production Company:

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title of this film was The Dizzy Dean Story . After the film's opening titles, a written statement notes that it is based on the true story of famed pitcher Jerome Herman "Dizzy" Dean, and at the picture's end, a written acknowledgment thanks "all the individuals, clubs and leagues of organized baseball involved in Dizzy Dean's career." [Although contemporary sources, including the onscreen credits, refer to Dean as "Jerome Herman Dean," modern sources call him "Jay Hanna Dean."] As depicted in the film, Dean (1911--1974) was a talented pitcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals for five seasons and was well-known for his colorful antics and boisterous personality. Along with his brother Paul, who was nicknamed "Daffy," Dean led his team to the World Series in 1934 and was also named the National League's most valuable player that year. Dean retired in 1936, after which he became a successful sports broadcaster, despite his often tangled grammar and thick Arkansas accent. Dean was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953. According to studio publicity, Dan Dailey trained intensively with former major league player Ike Danning, in addition to studying newsreels and recordings of Dean to perfect both his pitching style and accent.
       According to a 30 Oct 1950 HR news item, Richard Murphy was originally set to write the film's screenplay, but the extent of his contribution to the completed film, if any, has not been confirmed. In Mar 1951, LAEx reported that Lloyd Bacon would be directing the picture. Although studio publicity and HR news items add the following actors ... More Less

The working title of this film was The Dizzy Dean Story . After the film's opening titles, a written statement notes that it is based on the true story of famed pitcher Jerome Herman "Dizzy" Dean, and at the picture's end, a written acknowledgment thanks "all the individuals, clubs and leagues of organized baseball involved in Dizzy Dean's career." [Although contemporary sources, including the onscreen credits, refer to Dean as "Jerome Herman Dean," modern sources call him "Jay Hanna Dean."] As depicted in the film, Dean (1911--1974) was a talented pitcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals for five seasons and was well-known for his colorful antics and boisterous personality. Along with his brother Paul, who was nicknamed "Daffy," Dean led his team to the World Series in 1934 and was also named the National League's most valuable player that year. Dean retired in 1936, after which he became a successful sports broadcaster, despite his often tangled grammar and thick Arkansas accent. Dean was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953. According to studio publicity, Dan Dailey trained intensively with former major league player Ike Danning, in addition to studying newsreels and recordings of Dean to perfect both his pitching style and accent.
       According to a 30 Oct 1950 HR news item, Richard Murphy was originally set to write the film's screenplay, but the extent of his contribution to the completed film, if any, has not been confirmed. In Mar 1951, LAEx reported that Lloyd Bacon would be directing the picture. Although studio publicity and HR news items add the following actors and athletes to the cast, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Tony Dante, George Stanich, Art Reichle, Buck Andreason, Joe Hicks, Mercer Barnes, Bob DeLauer, Joe Brooks, Bob Simpson, Don Klosterman, Bob Perry, Michael O'Brien, Howard Banks and songwriter Harry Ruby. Studio publicity and HR items also note that some sequences were filmed on location in Calabasas, CA and at Gilmore Field in Los Angeles.
       A special preview of the film was held on 28 Apr 1952 in Hollywood as a benefit for the Olympic Games fundraising committee, according to a LAT article. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Writing. On 24 Sep 1951, Dailey and Joanne Dru reprised their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast entitled "Movie Time, U.S.A." during which a scene from the film was recreated, along with sequences from other popular movies of the season. In 1953, Dailey and director Harmon Jones re-teamed for another baseball film, The Kid from Left Field (see above). The Pride of St. Louis was the last film of noted screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, who died in 1953. Mankiewicz also wrote the screenplay for the 1943 Samuel Goldwyn production The Pride of the Yankees , about Lou Gehrig (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 ). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Mar 1952.
---
Box Office
14 Jun 1952.
---
Daily Variety
25 Feb 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Feb 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 51
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Feb 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 52
p. 5.
Los Angeles Daily News
3 May 1952.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
28 Mar 1951.
---
Los Angeles Times
29 Apr 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Mar 52
p. 1253.
New York Times
2 May 52
p. 20.
New York Times
3 May 52
p. 17.
Saturday Review
17 May 1952.
---
Time
12 May 1952.
---
Variety
27 Feb 52
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Leo T. Cleary
Phil Van Zandt
Capt. Fred Somers
Alex Cameron Grant
Robert Board
Thomas F. Martin
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward dir
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Dan Dailey's pitching trainer
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Dizzy Dean Story
Release Date:
April 1952
Premiere Information:
World premiere in St. Louis, MO: 11 April 1952
Production Date:
late July--late August 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
11 April 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1731
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
89 or 92-93
Length(in feet):
8,363
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15488
SYNOPSIS

In 1928, Jim Horst, a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, comes to a small town in the Ozarks to watch pitcher Jerome Herman Dean. Dean, whose abundance of self-confidence verges on egotism, is sure that Jim wants him to start for the "Cards" immediately, and is surprised by Jim's insistence that he first play for the Houston Buffaloes, a team in the minor Texas league. Although he quickly demonstrates his extraordinary talents, Dean is teased about his country clothes and so goes to a large department store to buy new suits. There, Dean meets pretty credit officer Patricia Nash and courts her with great vigor. One day, Dean's beloved brother Paul, who is also a pitcher, attends an exhibition game between Houston and the Chicago White Sox. Although Dean is dismayed to see Pat there with another beau, he pitches an almost perfect game, allowing only one hit. During the game, the White Sox players taunt Dean by calling him "Dizzy," but the jovial Dean quickly adopts the nickname. Later that night, Dean asks Pat to elope, and although she is stunned by his proposal, she agrees to marry him the next day. Dean attempts to arrange a publicity stunt whereby he and Pat will marry at home plate during a game, but the no-nonsense Pat insists on a quiet ceremony. As the months pass, Dean, who is now called Dizzy by the press, becomes the Buffaloes' star pitcher and is told to report to the Cardinals in the spring. Dean is delighted, especially after Paul is awarded a spot with the Buffaloes. During his first major league game, Dean is nervous, ... +


In 1928, Jim Horst, a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, comes to a small town in the Ozarks to watch pitcher Jerome Herman Dean. Dean, whose abundance of self-confidence verges on egotism, is sure that Jim wants him to start for the "Cards" immediately, and is surprised by Jim's insistence that he first play for the Houston Buffaloes, a team in the minor Texas league. Although he quickly demonstrates his extraordinary talents, Dean is teased about his country clothes and so goes to a large department store to buy new suits. There, Dean meets pretty credit officer Patricia Nash and courts her with great vigor. One day, Dean's beloved brother Paul, who is also a pitcher, attends an exhibition game between Houston and the Chicago White Sox. Although Dean is dismayed to see Pat there with another beau, he pitches an almost perfect game, allowing only one hit. During the game, the White Sox players taunt Dean by calling him "Dizzy," but the jovial Dean quickly adopts the nickname. Later that night, Dean asks Pat to elope, and although she is stunned by his proposal, she agrees to marry him the next day. Dean attempts to arrange a publicity stunt whereby he and Pat will marry at home plate during a game, but the no-nonsense Pat insists on a quiet ceremony. As the months pass, Dean, who is now called Dizzy by the press, becomes the Buffaloes' star pitcher and is told to report to the Cardinals in the spring. Dean is delighted, especially after Paul is awarded a spot with the Buffaloes. During his first major league game, Dean is nervous, but his talent and self-confidence prevail and help lead the team to victory. The sports reporters press Dean for anecdotes about his life, and he obliges by giving each of them an "exclusive," for which he reels off a different birthdate and place. The next spring, Paul, who is nicknamed "Daffy" by the press, joins Dean in St. Louis, and the irrepressible Dean brothers promote the team by acting as ushers, selling tickets in the box office and even cavorting with the marching band. Their antics get them into trouble, however, when they skip several games to go fishing and are each fined $100 by the team's manager, Frankie Frisch. Infuriated by the fine, Dean goes on strike and the obliging Paul follows, although Pat urges her husband to stop being so stubborn. After Pat's reprimand, Dean storms out of their apartment, and on the street, meets Johnny Kendall, a young, handicapped businessman who relies on crutches and a specially equipped car for transport. Dean helps Johnny with his errands, and Johnny's admiration of him and quiet acceptance of his handicap prompt Dean to end the strike. Dean and Paul then lead the Cardinals to the World Series, which they win. Later, during the next year's race for the pennant, Paul is injured by a line drive and is forced to retire. Dean is stunned by his brother's decision, as his entire life revolves around baseball, but soon faces a devastating injury himself when a line drive breaks one of his toes. Fretting during his enforced layoff, Dean returns to pitching too quickly, and during his first game back, is warned that he is risking serious injury to his pitching arm if he plays while he is still off balance due to the pain in his foot. The warning is borne out when a doctor tells Dean that bursitis and muscle strain have affected his arm, and soon the despondent Dean is sold by the Cardinals to the Chicago Cubs. Although he is no longer able to throw a fastball, Dean works hard to help the Cubs win the pennant. His arm strength continues to decline, however, and eventually Dean finds himself back in the Texas minor leagues. After a few months, even the Texas team lets Dean go, although he refuses to accept that his baseball career is over. Depressed and angry, Dean tries to forget his troubles by drinking and gambling and winds up losing large sums of money. Despite her love for her husband, Pat decides to leave him, and tells him that when he "grows up," she will return. Dean is devastated and asks Johnny, now a successful executive at his father's brewing company, for a job as a salesman. Johnny readily agrees yet arranges for his baseball-loving father to listen in as Dean comments on a game being broadcast over the radio. Johnny and Kendall, Sr. make Dean a baseball commentator on their radio station, and Dean becomes a great success, despite his thick Arkansas accent and often twisted English. Pat hears one of Dean's broadcasts and, bursting with pride, prepares to return home. Meanwhile, in St. Louis, an irate group of teachers oppose Dean, saying that his poor English is a bad influence on children. Dean is devastated by the charge and after much deliberation, decides to quit. During his final broadcast, Dean gives the children of St. Louis heartfelt instructions to pursue their education, then returns home, where Pat is waiting for him. After embracing his wife, Dean receives a call from Johnny, who refuses to accept his resignation, and then another call from Mrs. Martin, the head of the teacher's committee. Mrs. Martin admits that Dean's speech deeply moved the committee and tells him: "We'll keep teaching the children English and you keep on learning them baseball." Before Pat can again embrace her husband, however, a group of neighborhood kids come to the door and ask her if he can come out to play baseball. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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