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Maurie (also known as Big Mo) is a 1973 American biographical film directed by Daniel Mann. Distributed by National General Pictures, the film covers the lives and relationship of two NBA Hall of fame basketball players, the forward Jack Twyman, and his teammate the forward Maurice Stokes.
|Directed by||Daniel Mann|
|Produced by||Douglas Morrow|
|Written by||Douglas Morrow|
|Edited by||Walter Hannemann|
|Distributed by||National General Pictures|
The film chronicles Twyman's and Stokes's relationship from Stokes's rookie year in the NBA up until his death. Stokes and Twyman were teammates on the Rochester Royals during the 1950s (during which time the team located to Cincinnati). Stokes fell ill three days after the last game of the 1957–58 NBA season, in Minneapolis. Stokes drove to the basket, drew contact and fell to the floor, hit his head, and was knocked unconscious. He was revived with smelling salts, and he returned to the game.
Three days later, after an opening-round playoff game against the Detroit Pistons, Stokes became ill during the team's flight back to Cincinnati, suffered a seizure and fell into a coma to awaken in a Cincinnati hospital three weeks later. Stokes never fully recovered from the brain injury, and he was left permanently paralyzed. He would be confined to bed or a wheelchair as an almost completely paralyzed quadraplegic, and would need constant nursing care.
Twyman offered his friendship and continuous moral support and financial aid to Stokes and his family (even legally adopting him), who were saddled with the difficult task of caring for the virtually invalid Stokes, up until Stokes's death from a heart attack in 1970.
The cast included actors Bill Walker and Maidie Norman as Maurice's parents; Janet MacLachlan played Stokes's college girlfriend, Dorothy (Stokes was carrying a diamond ring in his pocket, all set to propose to her, when he had the seizure on the plane); and actor Ji-Tu Cumbuka portrayed Oscar Robertson.
Film critic A. H. Weiler of The New York Times wrote in his review: "As a potentially inspirational saga that respects the awesome truth that generated it, Maurie, now at Loews State and Cine Theaters is, unfortunately, rarely moving as drama. The heroism, tragedy and friendship of Maurice Stokes, the black basketball star destined to die, and his white teammate, Jack Twyman, formerly of the Cincinnati Royals, evolves on screen with largely soap-opera effects."