Category Archives: Mickey Rooney

Bill

Written by Barry Morrow & Corey Blechman
Directed by Anthony Page
Produced by Mel Stuart
Starring Mickey Rooney
Dennis Quaid
Largo Woodruff
Anna Maria Horsford
Harry Goz
Music by William Humeke, William Kraft
Cinematography Mike Fash
Approx. run time 100 minutes
Distributed by CBS Television
Country United States
Language English
Release date December 22, 1981
Bill is a movie that I watched several times when I was a kid. It is the story of Bill Sackter, a man who has an intellectual disability who lived in an institution for 46 years but is now living in the community trying to make it on his own. I think that it is kind of ironic that I watched this film so often as a kid as for the last fifteen years I have made a career working with people with intellectual disabilities.

Bill is played by Mickey Rooney, who won an Emmy Award for the role. Naturally he is not subtle with his playing of Bill but that is not so bad here. It’s hard for me to make an unbiased judgement of this movie though as I work with people with disabilities and can tell that reality is very different from the movies. I can see how the film tries to manipulate the feelings of the viewer but the story is quite compelling and Rooney’s overacting of the part helps us feel empathy for Bill. I know that there is a documentary about the real Bill Sackter that has recently been released but this is still an OK watch.

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Boys Town

Directed by Norman Taurog
Produced by John W. Considine Jr.
Written by Dore Schary, Eleanore Griffin & John Meehan
Starring Spencer Tracy
Mickey Rooney
Henry Hull
Music by Edward Ward
Cinematography Sidney Wagner
Editing by Elmo Veron
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date 9 September 1938
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Boys Town is a hard film to review for me because although I thought it was a great story, and Spencer Tracy’s fine portrayal of Father Flannigan was pretty good, there was one element that almost ruined the film for me. I am talking about Mickey Rooney’s performance as Whitey Marsh.

I have seen a few Mickey Rooney films and know that he can be quite a ham, but here his over-acting really affected my enjoyment of the film. The part really could have used a little subtlety instead of Mickey trying to steal every scene when he really didn’t have to. Perhaps I could put it down to him just being 18 at the time he made this film BUT… he had been acting in vaudeville and movies all his life so there shouldn’t be an excuse. Perhaps because Tracy’s  portrayal of Father Flannigan is very understated the director wanted to have the Mickster play his part way OTT.