This film is made to inspire by showing the dignity of man, but as I contemplate it after viewing, I become more and more depressed that cruelty toward ethnic groups here in the United States has abated little during my lifetime.
It is the story of Americans of Japanese decent who were put in relocation (prison) camps during World War II. One of the young men forced into the camp was an excellent baseball player who was getting ready to go off to college on a full athletic scholarship. His other love was jazz at which he was also very good. Baseball and jazz - American to the core. The young man - American to the core - treated as less than a citizen because of his heritage.
The conditions in the camp are not depicted in a way that shows how harsh they actually were, however the eye-opening events (for younger viewers) and reminders of how things were (for viewers of my age) are the scenes of unabashed prejudice by the townspeople and the military against the members of the camp. Those of us who have lived through the 40's and 50's know that those times were anything but politically correct.
It has always been a mystery to me that we call our country "The Great Melting Pot," and yet we abhor the individual ingredients that go into the pot. As I write this review, my three-year-old grand-nephew is visiting. I wonder if his United States will be the one steeped in hatred and fear of minority groups as is mine. I fear so. Human nature is not prone to change.
As I said, American Pastime is made to celebrate the dignity of man, and it certainly does a good job of it. It is a good movie that gives you a good feeling if you can manage to put aside the underlying and continuing darker side of we humans.