Movie Review: College Coach (1933)

Synopsis: With Calvert College on the verge of bankruptcy, the board of trustees decides to hire Coach James Gore to turn the football program around. However, Gore's obsession with winning eventually alienates some of his star players, puts his job in jeopardy and puts his marriage on the rocks.

Who's in it? The movie stars Dick Powell, Ann Dvorak, Pat O'Brien, Lyle Talbot and Arthur Byron.

Review: I came across this movie a couple days ago and decided to watch it while waiting for my daughter to get done at the ice rink. At first, I wasn't sure what to think about it but it did end up being a halfway decent film.

I found I liked Coach Gore (O'Brien) a lot more than I was expecting, mostly because he wasn't what I was expecting. Instead of being a ruthless coach who was obsessed with winning at all costs, he was more of a salesperson who was doing everything he could to take advantage of his winning reputation while he could still cash in on it. And, while he did cut corners, including paying his players, the movie made it clear he wasn't doing anything his competition wasn't.

His relationship with his wife (Dvorak) was probably the most interesting part of this movie. It was clear he loved her (and she him) and he did make a sincere effort to keep the romance alive but, at the same time, his success kept throwing a wrench into things. I sincerely wondered if their marriage would survive until the end of the film.

In addition to Gore, the characters Buck Weaver (Talbot) and Phil Sargent (Powell) added a nice element to the movie. Weaver's arrogance, especially when it came to Gore's wife, made me wonder if he would end up with some sort of comeuppance while Sargent trying to balance academics with sports offered a completely different subplot that might have made a good movie by itself.

My biggest complaint about the movie is I feel it is misclassifed as a comedy. Part of this might be because some of the jokes just didn't withstand the test of time but I felt the movie was much more of a drama. It's not a huge deal but it's one of those things that might make someone not watch it because they are expecting something else.

Final Opinion: For a "comedy," the movie wasn't overly funny. However, I thought it was a decent film overall and would recommend taking the time to watch it if you get a chance.

My Grade: A


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