Pigskin Parade David Butler

Pigskin Parade David Butler
I was dreading what I presumed would be a stiff and lifeless mid-30s distraction but imagine my delight to discover a tart and lively musical that somehow manages to never let you down. The film tells the story of what happens when the tiny Texas State University is mistakenly challenged to a football match by Yale; the problem is that the TSU team is largely staffed by basketball players and coach Winston "Slug” Winters (Jack Haley) is newly arrived from a Rhode Island high school. But as another underdog sports movie would say, "it ain’t over ’til it’s over” and Winston goes the distance training his team, finding ringers and begrudgingly accepting the advice of his sensible wife Bessie (Patsy Kelly). To say that this is light and frothy would be putting it mildly but I was surprised at how it sticks to your bones. Despite the intense corniness of the premise, the film is pretty ratatat between the coach and his wife, and fairly rollicking in its humour around campus. Plus, the songs are nearly constant and usually pretty good, including several numbers by a then unknown Judy Garland and one witty number involving Communist student Elisha Cook, Jr. Your life won’t be saved by the enterprise but it’s perfect for those nights when you’re feeling pretty low and need to be saved by something relentlessly cheerful. Extras include a lengthy analysis of the film’s enormous cast, a touching tribute to Judy Garland by her daughter Lorna Luft, a small clip on the rise of Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck, a restoration comparison and some still galleries. (Fox)