Alcoholic former baseball pro Barney Wile (Frank Morgan) helps talented Texas farm boy Monty Stratton (James Stewart) join the Chicago White Sox, but a tragic accident cuts the kid’s career short. Director Sam Wood’s final film was the inspiring real-life story of Monty Stratton who lost a leg but overcame his difficulties. It’s a standard biography, and Stewart is too old for the part (Agnes Moorehead, as his mother, is only eight years older), but it is nevertheless a well told and not overly sentimental film. Stewart makes you forget about his age, June Allyson is a convincing wife for him and Morgan is solid… even though his alcoholism appears to be cured overnight…
1949-U.S. 106 min. B/W. Produced by Jack Cummings. Directed by Sam Wood. Screenplay: Douglas Morrow, Guy Trosper. Cast: James Stewart (Monty Stratton), June Allyson (Ethel Stratton), Frank Morgan (Barney Wile), Agnes Moorehead, Bill Williams, Jimmy Dykes.
Trivia: Van Johnson and Gregory Peck were allegedly considered for the part of Monty. Several real-life ballplayers appear as themselves, including Dykes.
Oscar: Best Motion Picture Story (Morrow).
Last word: “I think we had a nice chemistry, and I think we liked each other. I don’t mean we had a crush on each other or anything like that, but I do believe we liked each other so much and respected each other so much that it – I don’t know, it formed a bond between us.” (Allyson on working with Stewart, CNN)