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The Pride of St. Louis (1952)

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Theatrical Release: May 2, 1952

DVD Release: February 7, 2014

Director: Harmon Jones

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

Being a fan of the great American past time, I try and search out as many films about the sport of baseball as I can find. Aside from being shown on TCM from time to time, The Pride of St. Louis has rarely been seen on the home video market...until now. 20th Century Fox's Cinema Archives has released on DVD the true story of Dizzy Dean, one of the best pitchers in baseball to have ever played.

Dan Daily gives a wonderful performance as eccentric, loud, and sometimes egotistical Jerome "Dizzy" Dean. The film starts with the rise of Dizzy from the back yard games he played with his brother Paul (Richard Crenna) while playing barefoot until one day a scout happens to be watching Dizzy from afar and gets him to sign with the minor league team Houston Bulls but with a promise that he will eventually play for the St. Louis Cardinals.

pride of st. louis

As Dizzy goes on a shopping spree to acquire new clothes, he meets the beautiful Patricia (Joanne Dru, who I remember from her last film, Super Fuzz) who he cons her into going out to dinner with and just assumes that she is now his girl. With his child-like manners and wild behavior, he is able to convince Patricia to become his girl and eventually his wife. In his first game with the Bulls, Dizzy is chosen to start the exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox and is given the nickname "Dizzy" when the Sox players try to break his concentration after giving up a home run. But Dizzy takes to his new nickname rather well and wins the game while continuing to call himself Dizzy.

pride of saint louis

As the film goes on and Dizzy plays for the Cardinals and eventually the Cubs who he played for in the 1938 World Series, Dizzy's arm soon goes out, thus ending his career in baseball. Luckily for him, as his marriage is starting to fall apart, Dizzy is able to break into broadcasting the games and soon becomes the voice of the St. Louis Cardinals, but not without controversy due to his poor English.  

the pride of saint louis

While The Pride of St. Louis is an enjoyable and entertaining film, it is rather basic with not much happening in the film. There is no concerning drama that happens in Dizzy's life and one wonders why a movie was even made about him. At times, The Pride of St. Louis almost feels pointless even though the performances are very good. I can't help but feel nostalgic for the sport when I watch older films on the game so I may be biased in my review. I can see most people shrug their shoulders over the film and forgetting about it within an hour after it is viewed.

The Pride of St. Louis

The DVD by Cinema Archives looks good and the sound is fine. There have been times when the Cinema Archives releases have been hit or miss but this one is one of the better releases. I was happy to see the trailer added to the DVD as sometimes their releases are given the bare bones treatment. The trailer does have some wear and tear which shows the viewer what a decent job Cinema Archives had done with the transfer to The Pride of St. Louis.

While kind of forgettable and rather basic, The Pride of St. Louis is worth a look for fans of older films and of course, baseball fans. Best watched with a hot dog and a box of cracker jacks.

Movie [Rating: 3]

DVD [Rating: 3]


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