(director: Alex March; screenwriters: Lawrence Roman/from the book by George Plimpton; cinematographer: Eugene Friedman, Peter Garbarini; editor: Louis San Andres; music: Roger Kellaway; cast: Alan Alda (George Plimpton), Lauren Hutton (Kate), David Doyle (Oscar Barnes, editor), Joe Schmidt, Alex Karras, John Gordy, Mike Lucci, Sugar Ray Robinson, Frank Gifford, Vince Lombardi, Pat Studstill, Roger Brown, Roy Scheider; Runtime: 107; MPAA Rating: G; producer: Stuart Millar; United Artists; 1968)
“A popular smart sports film, playing like a mockumentary, that’s filmed at the facility of the Detroit Lions, with the real pro football players.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz and
A popular smart sports film, playing like a mockumentary, that’s filmed at the facility of the Detroit Lions, with the real pro football players. It’s based on the book by George Plimpton. The book was inspired by the articles he wrote for Sports Illustrated. Plimpton (Alan Alda, his first starring role) tells how he pretended to be a rookie qb trying out for the team and going through their spring training camp. Management knew, while the players were kept in the dark about his identity.
Alex March(“Mastermind”/”The Big Bounce”/”The Paradine Case”) keeps it simple, entertaining and light-hearted. The great Joe Schmidt and Alex Karras were on that otherwise weak Lions team. It’s the kind of football film that should draw just as many non-football fans as actual fans. Football knowledge is not required. There are many sports celebrity cameos, including one from the great former boxing champ Sugar Ray Robinson.
Lauren Hutton plays Alda’s loyal secretary.
REVIEWED ON 4/28/2016 GRADE: B