‘42’ is the magic num­ber at the box of­fice

North Penn Life - - OPINION - Don “Og­be­wii” Scott, a Mel­rose Park res­i­dent, can be reached at dscott9703@ aol.com.

The most rel­e­vant and pow­er­ful scenes in the new filP, “42,” DbRuW -DFNLH Robin­son shat­ter­ing the VR-FDl­lHG “FRlRU bDUULHU” WR bHFRPH WKH fiUVW AIULFDnAmer­i­can to play ma­jor league base­ball on April 15, 1947, hits a pitch that most of us can hear loud and clear: The de­ter­mined and KRnHVW fiJKW IRU VHlI-wRUWK, dig­nity and fair­ness will sooner, or later, neu­tral­ize dogged hate, big­otry and ig­no­rance — no mat­ter what the odds or how far your climb might be.

AnG DlWKRuJK WKH flLFN that opened this month roared off with gen­er­ally very good re­views and did ex­tremely well at the box RI­fiFH, D IHw FULWLFV wURWH LW wDV D bLW ”FRUny” DnG HYHn “VKDl­lRw.” 2nH UHYLHwHU de­scribed the movie as “VLPSlLVWLF” DnG WKH 5RbLnVRn FKDUDFWHU DV “RnH GLPHnVLRnDl.”

Nev­er­the­less, I think Robin­son is por­trayed exquisitely by a rel­a­tively un­known black ac­tor, Chad­wick Bose­man, a grad­u­ate of Howard Univer­sity and the Bri­tish Amer­i­can DraPDWLF AFDGHPy DW 2xIRUG Univer­sity.

Plus, so many mo­ments Ln WKH filP DUH WKRuJKW-SUR­vok­ing, even ex­hil­a­rat­ing.

The scenes of snarling Philadel­phia fans and the racist Phillies’ man­ager Wil­liam Ben­jamin Chap­man, in­sult­ing gackie Robin­son, jux­ta­posed with cheer­ing black fans and lit­tle white and ebony boys em­u­lat­ing Robin­son’s base-run­ning were so en­gross­ing. There were the scenes of Robin­son’s white team mem­bers even pe­ti­tion­ing against him, with only a cou­ple hav­ing the early courage to stand by his side. That was even as the pi­o­neer­ing black ballplayer met per­sis­tent racial ha­tred and seg­re­ga­tion on the road and bDll­fiHlGV VRDNHG with the per­verted games­man­ship of stomp­ing cleats, spew­ing spit and whizzing 90-milean-hour balls thrown ven­omously at Robin­son’s head.

In­deed, Robin­son’s men­tal and phys­i­cal prow­ess was surely leg­endary to with­stand such tor­ment and still per­form as a cham­pion.

There was even the to­tal anguish Robin­son dis­played af­ter leav­ing the fiHlG RI MHHULnJ wKLWHV Ln RuU VR-FDl­lHG “CLWy RI BURWKHUly LRYH” DnG bUHDNLnJ KLV bDW against the wall of an in­te­rior sta­dium hall­way be­cause he had promised the Dodgers’ ex­ec­u­tive Branch Rickey (pow­er­fully de­picted by vet­eran ac­tor Har­ri­son Ford) he would not re­tal­i­ate against his per­se­cu­tors.

It was then that Robin­son re­ally felt the mean­ing of his ear­lier prom­ise to Rick- ey to have the strength not WR LnLWLDlly fiJKW bDFN.

,n IDFW, WKH filP’V PRVW re­deem­ing mes­sage deals with the lit­tle-known story of a black sports­writer for The Pitts­burgh Courier news­pa­per, Wen­dell Smith, sup­port­ing Robin­son morally and oth­er­wise dur­ing many early away games.

That was for the du­raWLRn RI 5RbLnVRn’V fiUVW sea­son af­ter leav­ing the all-black Kansas City Monar­chs fol­low­ing his re­cruit­ment by owner Branch Rickey for the mi­nor league’s Mon­treal Royals and then the Brook­lyn Dodgers to make his­tory in 1947.

YRu VHH, WKH filP ac­tu­ally opens with Smith (por­trayed by An­dre Hol­land), who bril­liantly cov­ered base­ball and Robin­son for the na­tion­ally dis­trib­uted news­pa­per, orally telling the ballplayer’s story while typ­ing in the stands re­served for AfricanAmer­i­can spec­ta­tors on a man­ual type­writer. And as Smith poignantly told a bit­ter Robin­son one evening as they es­caped in a car from hos­tile whites in Florida, de­spite his anguish and suf­fer­ing, it was im­per­a­tive for Robin­son to keep his cool and not spoil it for other blacks who might one day bHnH­fiW — LnFluGLnJ 6PLWK.

The writer would in 1994 be in­ducted into the Base­ball Hall of Fame, de­spite his mo­men­tous and heroic sup­port of an Amer­i­can hero be­ing largely and sadly for­got­ten.

In many ways, Smith be­came Robin­son’s pri­mary sup­port and friend, be­sides his lovely wife, Rachel, who at age 90 and four decades af­ter her hus­band’s 1972 death from a heart at­tack at age 53, helped re­cently to ad­vise the di­rec­tor, Brian Hel­ge­land, and his young thes­pi­ans.

The story’s im­pact, bol­stered by its daz­zling theme and the won­der­ful chem­istry be­tween Bose­man (who played Robin­son) and Ni­cole Be­harie (de­pict­ing Rachel), was ab­sorb­ing.

gust 28 years old, Be­harie is a na­tive of Florida, but was raised in South Carolina and now re­sides in Los An­ge­les, play­ing roles in such movies and tele­vi­sion SURJUDPV DV “LDw & 2UGHU: 6SHFLDl 9LFWLPV 8nLW” DnG “7KH GRRG :LIH.”

The fact that both, as well as the dy­namic sports re­porter, Smith, were rel­a­tively un­known, adds to the filP’V unLYHUVDl WKHPH: 7KDW no mat­ter who you are, or where you come from, if yRu fiJKW IRU wKDW LV ULJKW, you will ul­ti­mately pre­vail.

A Place in His­tory Don­ald Scott

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.