Saturday's Heroes (1937)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Sports Drama  |   Release Date - Oct 8, 1937 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 58 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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The low-budget football drama Saturday's Heroes is remarkably frank and timely -- at least for the first 4 reels or so. Debunking the squeaky-clean image then enjoyed by college football players, the film shows its amateur athletes betting on games, scalping tickets, and willingly accepting subsidies disguised as scholarships. But they're no worse than the college board of directors, who garner most of the football-victory profits for their own gain, all the while wrapping themselves in the cloak of respectability. When a "washed-up" young footballer who can no longer afford to remain in school commits suicide, gridiron hero Val (Van Heflin) lashes out at the sanctimonious and hypocritical faculty members. To shut Val up, his elders expel him for ticket-scalping, whereupon he teams up with honest sportswriter Red Watson (Richard Lane) to expose their hypocrisy. Enrolling at a small college cursed with a perennially losing football team, Val coaches them to victory against his alma mater. The film's refreshingly honest approach to its material falls apart about 20 minutes toward the end with the inclusion of such stock characters as toothless team trainer Andy Jones (Al St. John) and such ludicrous plot devices as Val's allowing the opposing team to score the first touchdown, just to lull them into a false sense of security. For at least 2/3 of its running time, however, Saturday's Heroes is among the best sports films of the 1930s.

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Keywords

amateur, athlete, bloopers, coach, college, craziness, ethics, exploitation, faculty, football, football-star, hypocrisy, integrity, recruit [soldier], school, sports, ticket, transfer, victory, courage