The Stratton Story (1949)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature], Sports Drama  |   Release Date - May 12, 1949 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The Stratton Story was a home run at the box office when released, when the name "Monty Stratton" still held considerable recognition factor. Viewers today won't know much about him, but once they start watching, they're bound to get hooked. Stratton is not a great film, but it's one that most people will find hard to resist. Even those who object to the manipulative nature of some of the storytelling, or to what are now some fairly clich├ęd situations probably will be willing to let those objections pass, for Stratton's heart is so much in the right place that most can't help but like the old lug. The story may be manipulative, but it's a doozy -- and truth to tell, scenarists Douglas Morrow and Guy Troper do an excellent job of tugging at the heartstrings while still keeping things light. They're helped enormously in this by the presence of James Stewart in the title role, who knows how to reach down into the depths when necessary but also knows how to toss off lines and bring unexpected lightness at key moments. June Allyson turns in one of her best performances in a role that could get easily have been sailed through, Frank Morgan adds some humor and Agnes Moorehead is stern yet winning. Inspirational yet controlled, Stratton is a winner.