Crazylegs (1954)

87-88 mins | Biography, Drama | 15 February 1954

Director:

Francis D. Lyon

Writer:

Hall Bartlett

Producer:

Hall Bartlett

Cinematographer:

Virgil E. Miller

Production Designer:

Boris Leven

Production Company:

Hall Bartlett Productions, Inc.
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HISTORY

The film opens with the following written foreword: "This is the story of an American boy--one of the greatest athletes of our time. All football sequences are taken from games in which he played." Voice-over narration by Lloyd Nolan as "Win Brockmeyer" is heard intermittently throughout the film. Written acknowledgments at the end of the film read as follows: "Hall Bartlett Productions, Inc. wishes to express its gratitude to Mr. Bert Bell, Commissioner of the National Football League, and to the following members of the League, for their cooperation in making this picture possible: Chicago Cardinals, Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49'ers. We also gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Arch Ward, Sports Editor of The Chicago Tribune , and to The Chicago Tribune itself, the originators and sponsors of the Annual All-Star Game in Chicago. And our deep appreciation to Mr. William Nicholas and the staff of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Our sincere thanks to Roberto and Bill." According to a Jul 1953 HR news item, portions of the film were shot on location at the Coliseum.
       Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch (1923--2004) is credited twice onscreen, first in the top billing and later as one of "The Men of the Los Angeles Rams." As depicted in the film, Wisconsin-native Hirsch, who was known for his long touchdown pass called the "bomb," was twice nominated to the College All-Stars, then played for the Chicago Rockets and the Los Angeles Rams. After his film debut in Crazylegs , Hirsch starred in two other Hall ... More Less

The film opens with the following written foreword: "This is the story of an American boy--one of the greatest athletes of our time. All football sequences are taken from games in which he played." Voice-over narration by Lloyd Nolan as "Win Brockmeyer" is heard intermittently throughout the film. Written acknowledgments at the end of the film read as follows: "Hall Bartlett Productions, Inc. wishes to express its gratitude to Mr. Bert Bell, Commissioner of the National Football League, and to the following members of the League, for their cooperation in making this picture possible: Chicago Cardinals, Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49'ers. We also gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Arch Ward, Sports Editor of The Chicago Tribune , and to The Chicago Tribune itself, the originators and sponsors of the Annual All-Star Game in Chicago. And our deep appreciation to Mr. William Nicholas and the staff of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Our sincere thanks to Roberto and Bill." According to a Jul 1953 HR news item, portions of the film were shot on location at the Coliseum.
       Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch (1923--2004) is credited twice onscreen, first in the top billing and later as one of "The Men of the Los Angeles Rams." As depicted in the film, Wisconsin-native Hirsch, who was known for his long touchdown pass called the "bomb," was twice nominated to the College All-Stars, then played for the Chicago Rockets and the Los Angeles Rams. After his film debut in Crazylegs , Hirsch starred in two other Hall Bartlett films, the 1955 Warner Bros. Unchained and the 1957 Paramount production of Zero Hour! (see below for both). In 1957, Hirsch retired from professional football and became Director of Athletics at one of his alma maters, the University of Wisconsin. In 1975, he was the subject of a television tribute, Greatest Sports Legend . As shown in the film, he married his high school sweetheart, Ruth, in 1946.
       Although his appearance in the film has not been confirmed, a Jul 1953 HR news item adds Charles Victor to the cast. According to an Oct 1953 Var news item, Hall Bartlett produced the film for $145,000. The film was reviewed in Sep 1953 under the title Crazylegs, All-American . In a Sep 1953 LADN article, columnist Howard McClay reported that a major studio, presumably Universal, was complaining that Hall Bartlett's use of the words "All-American" in the title of his film was potentially damaging to his own soon-to-be-released production The All American and feared public confusion over the two films. By the time of this film's premiere in Nov 1953, however, Republic had shortened the title. Crazylegs marked Francis D. Lyon's directorial debut. For his work on the film, editor Cotton Warburton received an Academy Award nomination. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
1 Jul 53
p. 306.
Box Office
3 Oct 1953.
---
Daily Variety
24 Sep 53
p. 3.
Daily Variety
19 Oct 1953.
---
Daily Variety
23 Nov 53
p. 1, 10.
Film Daily
28 Sep 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 53
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jul 53
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 53
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Jul 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 53
p. 2, 10.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 53
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 53
p. 6.
Los Angeles Daily News
2 Sep 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
31 Oct 53
p. 2046.
Newsweek
16 Nov 1953.
---
Variety
30 Sep 53
p. 6.
Variety
21 Oct 1953.
---
Variety
23 Nov 1953.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Head gaffer
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Head prop man
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Ladies' ward
All-Star uniforms
All other uniforms
Miss Vohs' ward
Mr. Hirsch's personal ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Head grip
Exec sec
Scr supv
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Rams' Fight Song," music by Leith Stevens, lyrics by Hall Bartlett.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Crazylegs, All-American
Release Date:
15 February 1954
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Inglewood, CA: 10 November 1953
Chicago, IL opening: 4 December 1953
Production Date:
early July--mid July 1953 at RKO-Pathe Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Hall Bartlett Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 October 1953
Copyright Number:
LP3261
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
87-88
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16659
SYNOPSIS

After the championship football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Braves, high school coach Win "Brock" Brockmeyer joins his former student, Elroy Hirsch, on the empty field. Although Elroy, who is at the height of his success, just helped win the game for the Rams, he is wondering if it is time to retire. The two men reminisce: At Wausau High School in Wisconsin, the athletic talents of Elroy, a fast-running halfback with an unusual gait, are nurtured by Brock, and Elroy's untiring devotion to the game results in his breaking many Wausau records. Upon graduation, Elroy offers to take a job to help his father Otto, a foundry worker who has been ill, but Elroy's family and Brock convince him to choose one of the many sports scholarships offered to him. To be near his family, he attends the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where his faithful sweetheart Ruth has also enrolled. However, because that institution has offered him the least financial aid, Elroy must take a job to support himself. During his freshman year, sorority girl Ruth rarely sees Elroy, as his classes, practices and job make for long days. In spite of his hard schedule, Elroy makes All-American and his number, "40," becomes famous in the Midwest. Reporters soon dub him "Crazylegs" because of his unusual running style. After deciding to join the Marines, Elroy transfers to the University of Michigan to attend the officers' training school there, and continues to play football. In spite of a weak ankle, he again makes All-American. Feeling neglected, Ruth stops writing him, so Elroy joins the basketball team, as it is the only way for him ... +


After the championship football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Braves, high school coach Win "Brock" Brockmeyer joins his former student, Elroy Hirsch, on the empty field. Although Elroy, who is at the height of his success, just helped win the game for the Rams, he is wondering if it is time to retire. The two men reminisce: At Wausau High School in Wisconsin, the athletic talents of Elroy, a fast-running halfback with an unusual gait, are nurtured by Brock, and Elroy's untiring devotion to the game results in his breaking many Wausau records. Upon graduation, Elroy offers to take a job to help his father Otto, a foundry worker who has been ill, but Elroy's family and Brock convince him to choose one of the many sports scholarships offered to him. To be near his family, he attends the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where his faithful sweetheart Ruth has also enrolled. However, because that institution has offered him the least financial aid, Elroy must take a job to support himself. During his freshman year, sorority girl Ruth rarely sees Elroy, as his classes, practices and job make for long days. In spite of his hard schedule, Elroy makes All-American and his number, "40," becomes famous in the Midwest. Reporters soon dub him "Crazylegs" because of his unusual running style. After deciding to join the Marines, Elroy transfers to the University of Michigan to attend the officers' training school there, and continues to play football. In spite of a weak ankle, he again makes All-American. Feeling neglected, Ruth stops writing him, so Elroy joins the basketball team, as it is the only way for him to get a pass to go to Madison. For the same reason, he joins the baseball and track teams in the spring, and becomes the only man to win a varsity letter in four major sports in one year. When he is called to active duty by the Marines, with barely six hours notice, he calls Ruth and asks her to wait for him. Upon his return from World War II, he proposes, but their happiness is marred when his father suffers a stroke. After they are married, Elroy plays in the collegiate All-Star Game in Chicago, earning recognition as the "most valuable player," which gets him a contract with a professional team, the Chicago Rockets. However, during a game he suffers a skull fracture and is presumed to be finished in sports. His refusal to give up worries Ruth, who is now pregnant and cannot understand Elroy's absolute need to play. She considers leaving him, but Brock, who has faithfully attended Elroy's games, helps her to see Elroy's unique gift. When the Los Angeles Rams offer Elroy a contract to play, he takes it, in spite of continued headaches, and works hard for a comeback. During the season, Elroy sets new NFL pass-catching records and wins the Ram's "most inspirational player" award, which is given by former team members. Brock and Ruth are in the stands when the Rams beat the Chicago Bears, and win the world championship. At the end of the game, as Brock and Elroy talk, Ruth joins them with their young son Win, who is Brock's godson and namesake. When a crowd of boys ask for Elroy's autograph, Ruth, who is now comfortable with Elroy's career, confides to Brock that his fans are not ready for him to quit. +

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

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