May 26 - Follow the Sun
Note from TheMirl.com: This is the newest installment of a regular series by Joel Blumberg reviewing
sports movies from all eras.
There haven’t been too many movies made about golf. There are "Tin Cup" and "Caddyshack", both
excellent comedies, but hardly an accurate representation of the sport (although there are many golfers
out there, yours truly included, whose golf game is comical).
In 1951, Twentieth Century Fox filmed the life story of Ben Hogan, the Tiger Woods of his day, who
owned the links from 1946-1953 when he was the number one golfer in the world.
In 1949, he almost died in an automobile accident, a crash so horrifying that, even if he lived, doctors felt
he’d never walk again.
But Hogan persevered, and came back to win the U.S. Open in 1950, on a Merion course that was soft
footing for even the healthiest of golfers, and treacherous . But playing 36 holes on the final day earned
him a tie and an extra day of golf, a day in which he won his final Open Championship
The film, while not a masterpiece, accurately chronicles the life of Hogan. Portrayed by Glenn Ford,
Hogan is a golfing machine, a man who virtually strove not only for perfection but for automation in each
and every thing.
The problem with Hogan was that he had no personality and while people respected his abilities, they
did not respect him as a person. And while his Open win in 1950 was amazing, the end result was that
people did root for him as a man, not just a golfer.
Anne Baxter, a very underrated actress in her time, plays Val Hogan, who was with Hogan in the crash.
In fact, Hogan was injured while successfully protecting his wife from injury. Also appearing in the cast
were several popular golfers of the day including Sam Snead, Cary Middlecoff and Jimmy Demaret.
Dennis O’Keefe plays Chuck Williams, a composite of many of the other tour golfers of the day, and the
complete opposite of Hogan. And while Hogan wins tournaments (63 in all - 3rd all-time), Williams
owns the locker room with his extroverted personality. But the film reveals an insecurity in Williams that
denies him the big one.
Not a masterpiece, but a good cast in an honest story makes this one very watchable. Unfortunately, it is
rarely shown on television and although it exists on VHS, it is very hard to find