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A lot of fiction in the 'true' story of Ernie Davis

October 10, 2008 |  1:37 pm

Coach Ben Schwartzwalder (Dennis Quaid) facing off against Ernie Davis (Rob Brown).

What did you expect from Hollywood in a true story -- truth?

"The Express," the story of the first African American Heisman Trophy winner, Ernie Davis,'' has a powerful story to tell. And it still would have been powerful if the filmmakers hadn't taken so many liberties with the facts.

They seem to have gotten the tone of the Syracuse trip to Dallas for the 1960 Cotton Bowl game against Texas basically right, so why play with so many facts? And an earlier scene about the vitriolic racial reaction the Orangemen received when they played a game at West Virginia is unnecessarily misleading and insulting to the people of that state. The game during the 1959 season was played at Syracuse.

The Times review of "The Express," by the way, said the movie "gets off track.''

On LATimes.com, Jim Brown, who also played at Syracuse and helped recruit Davis to the school, talks about the movie and also tells Kobe Bryant to step up for the good of the country. And an L.A. Times staffer tells about seeing Davis play in 1961.

-- Randy Harvey

Photo: A still photo from the movie "The Express"  with (left to right) Coach Ben Schwartzwalder (Dennis Quaid) facing off against Ernie Davis (Rob Brown). Credit: Chuck Hodes / Universal Studios

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