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Flashback Movie Review: Idol of the Crowds

This is one of the hardest movies to find. I’m sure with today’s technology it’s getting easier. There are a few reasons why you MUST see this hockey flick (TCM has it on once in a blue moon).

John Wayne on skates! He’s not a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy on skates rather a country boy who turned hockey pro and then retired. His character “Johnny Hanson” is trying to make a comeback and get some quick cash to enhance his chicken farm. He’s easily the biggest guy out there and in 1937 his 6-4 frame was massive for the times.

Of course the mob gets involved and tries to get Johnny to throw the championship game. First they try and get a woman to do the dirty work and when that doesn’t work. Well, you can guess what happens next.

Wayne plays for the New York Panthers, and the rink location was never disclosed in the credits but it was probably the Polar Ice Palace located in LA until 1963.

The cut scenes are pretty obvious when Wayne attempts to make us believe he could actually play hockey.

Thugs try and take out the “Duke” but to no avail. There was a lot of money being thrown on the “championship game” as they called it which would be the Stanley Cup in real life.

You can figure out the ending with 1930’s screenplays following almost the same script time after time.

Director Arthur Lubin directed several Abbott and Costello films (they were funny too) and he created Mr. Ed! You can’t make this stuff up.

Check out the poster here:

Some funny character names were Swifty, Spike and Squat (seriously? guess he never saw a hockey game).

They have plenty of cliches’, stock music and belly laughs, for the wrong reasons, to keep you entertained.

No professional hockey players were in this movie. Wayne, a Southern California native, stated that this was his first time on skates and probably his last since he ended up in the hospital for a few days afterwards.

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