A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story (1978) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story (1978)

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Movie Info

Based on the 1976 autobiography My Luke and I by Eleanor Gehrig and Joseph Durso, Love Affair: The Eleanor & Lou Gehrig Story provides a slightly different slant on the events previously dramatized on film as Pride of the Yankees (1942). The story is told in flashback from the point of view of the wife of baseball's "Iron Man". Sitting in a deserted Yankee stadium, Eleanor (Blythe Danner) relates her tale to her biographer Joseph Durso (Robert Burr). She recalls how she met the painfully shy ballplayer Lou Gehrig (Edward Herrmann) on a blind date in 1933. She remembers her battle of wills with Lou's domineering and possessive mother (played with a nearly impenetrable foreign accent by Patricia Neal), and her 1934 elopement with her "Luke." Other memories include the New York Yankees' goodwill trip to Japan, where relationships became strained between teammates Gehrig and Babe Ruth (Ramon Bieri). Also recalled is the fact that Lou played 2130 consecutive games (a record was only recently broken by Cal Ripken Jr.). Eleanor's story ends inevitably with Lou's slow death from amyotropic lateral sclerosis. In summing up, Eleanor insists that despite the tragic final years, she wouldn't have traded her short time as Mrs. Lou Gehrig for anything. Edward Herrmann took pride in the fact that his portrayal of Lou Gehrig won the unqualified praise of the real Eleanor (though Herrmann learned to bat southpaw for the role, he is seen actually playing baseball only once) Originally scheduled for broadcast on October 9, 1977, the made-for-TV Love Affair was bumped by a World Series playoff game; it was rescheduled for January 15, 1978--smack dab opposite the Super Bowl.

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Cast

Blythe Danner
as Eleanor Gehrig
Edward Herrmann
as Lou Gehrig
Patricia Neal
as Mrs. Gehrig
Ramon Bieri
as Babe Ruth
Jane Wyatt
as Eleanor's Mother
Georgia Engel
as Claire Ruth
Michael Lerner
as Dr. Canlan
David Ogden Stiers
as Dr. Charles Mayo
Lainie Kazan
as Sophie Tucker
James Luisi
as Lazzeri
Robert Burr
as Joe Durso
Wynn Irwin
as Barrows
George Cooper
as Mr. Twitchell
Ellen Blake
as Nurse #1
Jonathan Sagall
as Draftsman
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Critic Reviews for A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story

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Audience Reviews for A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story

Superlative performances from the two leads highlight this fine drama of the relationship and deep love between the Gehrigs. Not to take anything away from Pride of the Yankees or Teresa Wright's wonderful performance but Blythe Danner's Eleanor is presented as a much more flesh and blood woman, sometimes thorny and tough but always there for the man who meant the most to her as he was for her. Her last scene with him is a master class in expert acting. It will tear at your heart.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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