The amazing story of former German Prisoner of War and Manchester City goalkeeper Bert Trautmann is all the more remarkable because it is true.
Masterfully played by David Kross, Trautmann is caught in the middle of a storm of protest in Manchester when he is signed for the City football team in 1956.
Coming so soon after the end of World War Two, tensions towards Germany are still very high in England, particularly among the Jewish community.
And despite Trautmann being married to Margaret – a beautiful English girl from nearby St Helens (played by Freya Mavor) – the newspapers make much of Trautmann’s former exploits in the German army, including his award of an Iron Cross for valour.
However, such was Trautmann’s impact on the English game that he managed to overcome his detractors: famously going on to win the 1956 FA Cup Final with Manchester City against Birmingham City, despite suffering a broken neck.
The injury occurred in the last 20 minutes of the game when City were 3-1 up and Trautmann dived at the feet of a Birmingham striker, only to severely injure his neck.
No one realised how serious it was at the time and after a short on field medical examination, Trautmann went on to finish the game.
Despite his courage, Trautmann became depressed after his injury and seriously considered giving up on football.
However, a chance encounter in Manchester with the former English commander of his PoW Camp changed his mind, and Trautmann went on to play more than 550 games for the club.
He was also the first goalkeeper (and foreigner) to win the Professional Football Association’s Player of the Year.
The film is a poignant and moving account of one man’s rise to the top of the football tree against seemingly unstoppable prejudice.
The Keeper is both sad and heart-warming, as well as being a good example of a biopic with real heart and substance.
It also highlights the virtues of forgiveness and persistence.
The Keeper is showing at Luna Leederville and Windsor Cinema, Nedlands from Thursday July 25.
By Mike Peeters