Jim Thorpe -- All-American

While the critics penalize The Babe for mimicking the style of vintage Hollywood sports biopics, three original models of the form have just been released on video for comparison viewing. The Winning Team sugarcoats the story of pitching great Grover Cleveland Alexander, with Ronald Reagan going through his Gipper motions and Doris Day cheering him on from the stands. Jim Thorpe — All-American paints a far less whitewashed portrait, with a very believable Burt Lancaster as the Native American natural. But the dark-horse winner here is the purely fictional Trouble Along the Way, starring John Wayne as a burnt-out coach who gets a second chance at a bankrupt Catholic college. The Duke doesn’t handle kids as easily as bad guys. But he was a real-life college football player, and he looks good on a field, proving that in sports movies, as in sports, the right moves sure mean a lot. The Winning Team: C Jim Thorpe — All-American: B Trouble Along The Way: B+

Jim Thorpe -- All-American
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