Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The Plan 9 From Outer Space of baseball biopics, The Babe Ruth Story is definitely in the "So Bad It's Good" category. An outrageously miscast William Bendix stars as George Herman "Babe" Ruth, who as depicted herein is a childish, misunderstood oaf who happens to be one of the greatest ballplayers of all time. With an almost perverse disregard for the facts, the film chronicles Babe's school days in Baltimore, his brief tenure with the Baltimore Orioles, his glory days with the New York Yankees, his precedent-breaking 60th homer, his "called shot" of 1932, his fall from grace with the Boston Braves, and his slow death from an unnamed but obviously cancerous illness. Along the way, Ruth marries nightclub performer Claire Hodgson (Claire Trevor) with whom he spends many happy years (the earlier Mrs. Ruth, Helen Woodford, is ignored as if she never existed, as is Babe's daughter Dorothy). It's difficult to remember all of the film's howling innacuracies, which include Claire Hodgson's performance of "Singin' in the Rain" ten years before the song was written, the Yankee Stadium billboard for Ballantine Beer in the middle of Prohibition, and Babe's promise to a dying child that he'd hit a homer during the 1932 World Series (this famous incident actually occured in 1927, and the kid wasn't dying). It's also fun to note that Babe's spiritual mentor Brother Matthias (Charles Bickford) remains steadfastly the same age from 1914 to 1948. It was probably to much to expect the truth from coscripter Grantland Rice, who during his newspaper career spent most of his time covering up Ruth's many sexual and alcoholic peccadilloes "for the good of baseball." Despite its multitude of flaws, The Babe Ruth Story is worth sitting through if only for the jaw-dropping final scene (which is even more ridiculous than the earlier vignette in which a Ruth home run enables a crippled child to walk for the first time!) Yes, it's awful, almost stupefyingly so, but The Babe Ruth Story is an experience not to be missed.
sports, baseball, bride, dwarf, elderly, mad-scientist, purity, wife
Low Artistic Quality