Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Don Cherry Story - Part One

Tonight, the CBC featured Part One of Keep Your Head Up, Kid - The Don Cherry Story in prime time. The story, filmed across parts of Canada, highlights the career achievements of Donald S. Cherry from his time as a boy in elementary school right up to his career as a icon on Hockey Night In Canada. The two-part mini-series runs tonight and tomorrow, so we'll look at tonight's episode a little bit as the first half of Don's illustrious career takes to the small screen with all the Hollywood glitz and glamour. The best part? I was lucky enough to see a lot of this part filmed in Selkirk, Manitoba. I probably won't be in any of the scenes, but I was there, I assure you.

The visual photography is excellent in the film. Director Jeff Woolnough does a fantastic job at bringing together the major life moments of Don's life in a very succinct way, and his attention to detail is excellent. It also helps that executive producer Tim Cherry has first-hand knowledge of Don's life being that Tim is Don's son!

The story features an excellent wardrobe as well. The old sweaters seen in the movie are replicas of what was worn on the ice. There are great looks at the old Rochester Americans sweaters, the old Hershey Bears sweaters, and the old Springfield Indians sweaters from the AHL, as well as looks at the old Montreal Canadiens and Bostons Bruins from the NHL.

One of the things that I really appreciated was the attention to detail seen in Don Cherry's injuries. We learn early on in the movie that removing stitches after two or three days, followed by extensive cocoa butter on the wound, will prevent scars. Buckets of hot water followed by ice cold water does wonders for a broken toe. Of course, none of this is recommended by doctors, but it seemed to work for Don Cherry in his life. And there was always room for a Don Cherry scrap on film!

The portrayal of Don Cherry is done wonderfully by Jared Leeso. Mr. Leeso captures the essence of Don Cherry by adopting some of his favorite mannerisms and catchphrases. Eddie Shore, a man who was instrumental in developing Cherry's tough image, is played by Stephen McHattie, and he does an excellent job in showing how tough, and how thrify, Shore was in life.

We learn through the players of Shore's cheap methods when Cherry, sitting in the dressing room, is looking for tape for his shinpads. Cherry is informed by a Springfield teammate that innertubes are better because they can be re-used, meaning Shore can save money on tape.

And perhaps the greatest role is played by Sarah Manninen, who portrays Rose Cherry. Rose would become the most important figure in the Cherry household as she was the yin to Don's yang. As we would see later in life, Rose was not only the strength behind Don, but she was the entire world to Donald S. Cherry, and her passing would have a profound effect on the gruff hockey spokesman. Sarah's portrayal of Mrs. Cherry is outstanding, and she might be the star of the show.

Overall, Part One was very enjoyable, and I am looking forward to Part Two tomorrow evening. I'll try to contact the CBC about getting a possible DVD of the mini-series once it concludes, and, if I can obtain one, I'll toss that into the prizes for the upcoming HBIC Playoff Pool!

Part Two goes Monday night, and it looks like a beauty!

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Last night I finally got to watching Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story.

If you happened to catch the two-part CBC television movie, you know the film’s director, Cherry’s son Tim, did an excellent job chronically the legendary hockey commentator’s life.

However, I must admit there were quite a few surprises: