I have to say up front that I'm a huge fan of baseball and baseball history, so the movie "42" about Jackie Robinson was right up my alley. With that said, you don't have to be a baseball fan to like it. I took my 11 year old daughter, who's not a big baseball fan.
The AMC Theater at Newport on the Levee hosted the screening. It was packed with people of all ages and races; some wanting to see the movie for its entertainment value, others wanting to see it for its historical significance. It was awesome to see so many older African American men, wearing Negro League jerseys. Chuck Harmon, who was the Reds 1st African-American player, was there to see it. I was a little star-struck since my seats were only a row behind his.
The movie is about a story most of us know; Brooklyn's Jackie Robinson and how he came to be with the Dodgers. I know the story; I even did a report on it in the 8th grade, but that couldn't prepare me for some of what I saw on the screen. It is unimaginable what Robinson had to go through everyday. Threats of violence, vicious name-calling, all just to play baseball.
Robinson definitely shines through as the courageous hero, but so do his wife, Rachel, who stuck by his side and Dodgers owner, Branch Rickey. Rickey signed Robinson, despite threats of boycotts by other teams and his own players. The movie does a great job of showing the relationship between Robinson and Rickey. I won't give anything away, but to me, this movie is a must-see. Not only for the baseball, but for the history. Cincinnati has a prominent role toward the end and let's just say, it doesn't paint the Queen City in a flattering light. Of course, fans in just about every city in the movie look less than good. But it's nice to know that there were people like Rickey who could ignore race and saw Robinson as a baseball player. I know, without Jackie Robinson, some of my favorite players, would never have had a chance to play.
Dan Romito is the senior producer for the FOX19 Morning News.
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