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Harmon of Michigan (1941)

Passed
65 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

Tom Harmon (ol' # 98 for the Michigan Wolverines, husband of actress Elyse Knox and father of Mark Harmon and Kelly Harmon)took a back seat to no one on the football field (except the Minnesota Gophers) or, later, in the broadcast booth, ...See moreTom Harmon (ol' # 98 for the Michigan Wolverines, husband of actress Elyse Knox and father of Mark Harmon and Kelly Harmon)took a back seat to no one on the football field (except the Minnesota Gophers) or, later, in the broadcast booth, but, on film, he managed to find himself in two of the all-time bad sports movies..."The Spirit of West Point" and "Harmon of Michigan." The latter, if it had been a true-life biography of Tom Harmon, might have made a passable film but after a short prologue, narrated by sports writer Bill Henry who is not the same as actor William Henry, that semi-recaps Harmon's football-playing days at the University of Michigan, it quickly develops into a mess that indicates the director and writers used the technical adviser, Coach Jeff Cravath, only to put plays on the blackboard. Once Harmon,(supposedly playing himself but the character he plays here has more character flaws than the law allows), graduates from Michigan, he marries his college sweetheart Peggy Adams (Anita Louise), turns up his nose at the prospect of playing professional football---a poor-paying and not-that-well respected job in 1941---and starts a vagabond tour of coaching tank-water colleges. Authenicity went out the window when the narration ended, as did any kind of time tracking, as everything that follows seems to happen in a single football season. Tom takes an assistant coach job at a cow-pasture college under Jimmy Wayburn (William Hall) and lasts one day before Wayburn fires him. Then he signs to play for a College All-Star team doing exhibition games against pro teams, but his team-mates, hacked because Tom gets star billing, lay down on him and he gets smacked down hard on every play. One of the leaders willing to let Harmon get slaughtered is old Michigan teammate Forrest Evashevski (playing himself), a life-long friend in real life and Godfather to Mark Harmon and a long-time respected coach at the University of Iowa. Harmon wins the game by himself, but decides this isn't his cup of tea. He hangs around the house a few weeks, then gets a job as an assistant under old-time coach Pop Branch at a college that has three buidings on campus and a football stadium seating 100,000 fans. He helps Pop win a few games (still ticking along in what appears to be the same fall football season), but the alumni at Webster College are tired of losing, fire their coach and hire Harmon away from Pop. Harmon takes over the Webster team in mid-season and becomes the all-time example of a hard-ass coach willing to win at any cost, including installing a screen-pass play that depends on an illegal blcoking scheme---the Flying Wedge---to make it work. His Webster team begins to thump their opponents by large scores, usually leaving the other team battered and bloodied by the use of the illegal blocking scheme. They win four or five games which, based on the writers time scheme, would have them playing 20 games a season in what was then a nine-and-ten game season. Plus, the press and other coaches around and about, are up in arms about Harmon's tatics, but the jerks refereeing the games evidently haven't read the rule book nor the newspapers and throw no penalty flags against his team. Well, one referee does once, but he never officiated nor had lunch in that town again. It, by any reasonable calendar must now be July of the next year in a season that should have ended in December, and hard-case Harmon's team is going up against Pop's team (where Harmon coached earlier in this never-ending season) and Pop drops by and tells Tom he ain't all that fond of Tom's coaching methods, but Tom poo-pahs him off, and then sends his team out and they gleefully dismantle Pop's fair-playing team by 109-0. But Webster's quarterback Freddie Davis (Stanley Brown) suffers a concussion running a play Harmon calls just to run up the score even higher---Harmon evidently didn't read the script because nobody using their own name would want this character perceived as Himself---and it's nip-and-tuck whether Freddie will get out of the hospital alive. It gets even stickier when Freddie parents drop their hospital vigil long enough to tell Tom they are right proud that he is Freddie's coach. Say what? Tom sees the light and reverts back to the good old boy he started out as. Written by Les Adams See less
Read more: Plot summary
Writers
Cinematographer
Editor
Art Seid (as Arthur Seid)
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Status
Edit Released
Updated Sep 11, 1941

Release date
Sep 11, 1941 (United States)

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Cast

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37 cast members
Name STARmeter Known for
Tom Harmon
Tom Harmon Tom Harmon   See fewer
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Anita Louise
Peggy Adams Peggy Adams   See fewer
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Forest Evashevski
Forest Evashevski Forest Evashevski   See fewer
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Oscar O'Shea
'Pop' Branch 'Pop' Branch   See fewer
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Warren Ashe
Bill Dorgan Bill Dorgan   See fewer
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Stanley Brown
Freddy Davis Freddy Davis   See fewer
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Ken Christy
Joe Scudder Joe Scudder   See fewer
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Tim Ryan
Flash Regan Flash Regan   See fewer
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William Hall
Coach Jimmy Wayburn Coach Jimmy Wayburn   See fewer
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Larry Parks
Harvey Harvey   See fewer
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Chester Conklin
Gasoline Chuck Gasoline Chuck   See fewer
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Sam Balter
Sam Balter Sam Balter   See fewer
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Wendell Niles
Wendell Niles Wendell Niles   See fewer
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Tom Hanlon
Tom Hanlon Tom Hanlon   See fewer
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Ken Niles
Ken Niles Ken Niles   See fewer
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Jack Carr
Jake - Counterman (uncredited) Jake - Counterman (uncredited)   See fewer
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Hal Cooke
Doctor (uncredited) Doctor (uncredited)   See fewer
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David Durand
Perkins (uncredited) Perkins (uncredited)   See fewer
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Edythe Elliott
Mrs. Davis (uncredited) Mrs. Davis (uncredited)   See fewer
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Bill Henry
Bill Henry (uncredited) Bill Henry (uncredited)   See fewer
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Dick Hogan
Bonetti (uncredited) Bonetti (uncredited)   See fewer
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Art Howard
Doctor (uncredited) Doctor (uncredited)   See fewer
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Edward Keane
City Editor (uncredited) City Editor (uncredited)   See fewer
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Harold Landon
Calahan (uncredited) Calahan (uncredited)   See fewer
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Eddie Laughton
Game Spectator Razzing Harmon (uncredited) Game Spectator Razzing Harmon (uncredited)   See fewer
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Nick Lukats
Pepper (uncredited) Pepper (uncredited)   See fewer
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Kenneth MacDonald
Doctor (uncredited) Doctor (uncredited)   See fewer
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Knox Manning
Broadcaster (uncredited) Broadcaster (uncredited)   See fewer
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Paul McVey
Alumni Committee Man (uncredited) Alumni Committee Man (uncredited)   See fewer
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Jack O'Malley
Chuck (uncredited) Chuck (uncredited)   See fewer
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Franklin Parker
Harry Bates - Reporter (uncredited) Harry Bates - Reporter (uncredited)   See fewer
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Cyril Ring
Carter (uncredited) Carter (uncredited)   See fewer
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Tom Seidel
Smedovitch (uncredited) Smedovitch (uncredited)   See fewer
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Ben Taggart
Mr. Davis (uncredited) Mr. Davis (uncredited)   See fewer
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John Tyrrell
Game Spectator Razzing Harmon (uncredited) Game Spectator Razzing Harmon (uncredited)   See fewer
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Morgan Wallace
Alumni Committee Man (uncredited) Alumni Committee Man (uncredited)   See fewer
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Ratings Breakdown

6.8 / 10 | 42 votes