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Saturday's Heroes

(1937 b 60')

En: 4 Ed: 5

A college football star fights against the athletic policies that enable the business to prosper without paying the players.

A man sells football tickets at high prices and gives money to star player Val Webster (Van Heflin), who complains how reporter Red Watson (Richard Lane) is writing about him lately. Coach Doc Thomas (Minor Watson) castigates his players even though they always win. His daughter Frances Thomas (Marian Marsh) gives Val a kiss. Val bets on a play and fumbles. Coach Thomas takes Val out but puts him back in later, telling him to pass; but Val runs for the winning touchdown. On the train Val spoofs the coach but learns that Watson wrote he has a big head. Val socks Watson, and Frances tells Val not to scalp tickets. Ted Calkins (John Arledge) is disgraced for playing a fifth year and comes to see Val at his fraternity, where Val defends him. Police tell Val that Calkins committed suicide; but Val suspects he was murdered, because he took the blame for others.

In class Val is told to resign for selling tickets. Val blames Frances for telling her father; but she denies it. Val threatens Calton President Hammond (George Irving) that he will expose the corrupt system. Hammond and Thomas decide to reinstate Val. Watson calls Val. When Hammond and Thomas come into his office, Watson pretends that Val is informing him, causing them to change their minds. Frances tells Val that he is reinstated, but he gets angry when he learns he is not. At Weston College Val asks President Horace Mitchell (Charles Trowbridge) to make college football honest by paying players. Mitchell calls Watson, who backs Val.

Val becomes an assistant coach at Weston and tells Watson. Watson tells Val to see Frances, because Val had been reinstated until he misled Hammond and Thomas. Val gets angry and knocks out Watson. Val tells Frances that he will be a model husband; but she learns he hit Watson again and stalks out. Watson writes how Calton will beat Weston easy. Val tells Weston players to let Calton score first so they will loaf after that. Val calls a statue-of-liberty play, and Weston scores. Mitchell tells Hammond that they plan to make college football professional and honest. Hammond promises to join his plan if Calton loses. Weston player Baker (Crawford Weaver) pretends to quit and walk off but catches a pass and scores to win the game. Val explains to Frances, and they embrace.

Also spliced with comedy, this drama exposes the hypocrisy of big-time college football that makes huge profits without paying the players that make it prosper, causing athletes to accept money dishonestly.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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