The Babe Ruth Story (1948)

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2.0 Overall Score
Story: 1/10
Acting: 1/10
Visuals: 6/10

So-bad-it-is-good

Cliche loaded script, horrible acting

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Babe Ruth Story

Studio:  Roy Del Ruth Productions

Genre(s):  Sports/Drama

Release Date(s):  July 26, 1948 (Premiere)/September 6, 1948 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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That’s right…too the moon!

George Herman Ruth (William Bendix) has dreams of playing ball.  When he is picked up by the Baltimore Orioles in 1914, George becomes Babe Ruth…one of the greatest players to ever play the game.  Despite his battle with alcohol and his strong personality, the Babe continues to fight and finds love with Claire Hodgson (Claire Trevor).  As his career goes through highs and lows, Babe Ruth becomes a legend.

Directed by Roy Del Ruth, The Babe Ruth Story has often been called one of the worst pictures ever made.  The movie’s production was rushed due to Babe Ruth’s sickness.  Ruth attended the premiere in July, but died on August 16, 1948 before the movie was released theatrically.

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He sings…he dances…he bats….Babe Ruth the Musical!!!

A friend said The Babe Ruth Story was one of the worst film he had ever seen, so I had to check it out.  Yes, it is bad…really bad.  It is loaded with horrible writing and bad acting.  Every scene is just a rousing speech that ending with a rising score like Scarlett O’Hara’s rousing “I’ll never be hungry again” speech in Gone with the Wind…but The Babe Ruth Story is no Gone with the Wind.

The movie’s story is just one bad cliché after another.  Maybe in 1948, the sports movie (and biopic) wasn’t as developed and some of these scenes were more original, but now, you know how ever scene is going to end.  It isn’t rousing, it is laughable.  With Ruth alive, it also has their weird ambiguous ending with Ruth getting special experimental treatment reserved for animals as a possible cure.

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Dad, I can walk because of Babe Ruth…he’s pretty much my Jesus!!!

The portrayal of Babe Ruth is also laughable.  The guy had a lot of faults, but he was an American icon.  The movie just takes a lot of Ruth mythos and glosses over the bad with the occasional “he’s a guy who likes to have fun” approach to his drinking (and no womanizing…in fact it skips his first wife).  Babe Ruth is so awesome that he makes crippled children walk and raises the sick from their beds…this isn’t an exaggeration and actually occurs in the movie.  It does portray him as a rather slow man who can barely talk…I can’t imagine what Ruth himself thought when he saw it before he died.

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You better resurrect this dog doctor or I’ll beat you in a drunken rage!

The acting is awful as well.  William Bendix feels like he’s reading his lines from cards as he says them.  Scenes where he must “act” are painful and fun scenes like the Singin’ in the Rain sequence with Claire Trevor show that being a comedic actor isn’t a strong suit as well.  It is notable that Bendix was able to hit a baseball over the right field fence during the course of the movie so at least he could bat.  There is also an appearance by I Love Lucy alum William Frawley before his Fred Mertz days.

The one thing that The Babe Ruth Story doesn’t have going against it is that it doesn’t look too bad.  It is shot nicely and resembles most movies from this period.  It isn’t experimental by any means, but it definitely looks better than its script and acting.

The Babe Ruth Story is a bad movie, but I’ve seen worse.  The movie’s main travesty is being boring and close to two hours.  It is hard to handle all the flowery speeches and rousing moments, but if you are a fan of bad films, you’ll want to check it out.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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