CrazyLegs / Zero Hour (1953)

CrazyLegs / Zero Hour (1953)

“You forget about everything out on that field, don’t you?”

Football legend Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch stars as himself in this overview of his fabled athletic career.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Biopics
  • Football

It’s difficult to understand why Peary includes this tepid, poorly scripted biopic of football star Elroy Hirsch — a.k.a. “Crazylegs” — in his GFTFF, given that it suffers from a serious lack of genuine dramatic tension, and will only be of interest to diehard sports fans or those specifically interested in Hirsch’s story. For what it’s worth, Hirsch — who has a decent on-screen presence — actually seems like a nice enough guy: he’s hardworking, devoted to his all-American “girl” (Joan Vohs) and loyal parents (Norman Field and Louise Lorimer), and intensely committed to both his country (he voluntarily enlisted as a Marine) and to sportsmanship in general. But niceness and a strong work ethic don’t necessarily make for a particularly interesting protagonist or storyline.

While he’s best known for his stellar work as a running back and receiver for the L.A. Rams and Chicago Rockets, Hirsch was also the only University of Wisconsin student to win a Varsity letter in 4 major sports in one year. To that end, the thesis of the film seems to be summed up in the following quote:

Sports aren’t just a sideline; it’s a way of life, competing against the very best. There’s a special way you feel about things — you can’t buy it, you can’t explain it to anybody else; you have to live it.

It’s unfortunate that such an intriguing life perspective — ripe for dramatic exploration — is handled so dully. Don’t bother seeking this one out unless you’re a true football fan (in which case you’ll likely appreciate all the vintage footage of actual games).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Vintage footage of Hirsch on the field

Must See?
No; this one will only be of interest to fans of football history.


One thought on “CrazyLegs / Zero Hour (1953)

  1. First viewing. Definitely *not* must-see, and in agreement with the view above.

    It seems apparent that Peary has a) a love of football and b) an admiration for Hirsch. Fair enough (though why anyone would love football is beyond me, personally). But not only is this film nearly impossible to find…once you do find it, you’ll find yourself watching something almost completely amateurish.

    In the ’40s and ’50s, Hollywood gave us a number of sports biopics – and, even if you’re not particularly into sports, those films are generally more compelling than this half-baked attempt. It comes off like what might happen if Ed Wood decided to ‘tackle’ such a film and to handle it with ‘reverence’. (A lot of the dialogue is pedestrian at best.)

    For some reason, the film is blessed with having Lloyd Nolan in the cast as coach Win Brockmeyer (he appears in the film throughout and narrates a good portion of it). It’s a puzzle as to why Nolan would take time out of a more prestigious career to show up here. But his presence is actually what keeps the film watchable.

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