Classic Baseball: 4 Film Favorites [2 Discs] [DVD]

  • SKU: 25089666
  • Release Date: 07/15/2014
  • Rating: R
  • 5.0 (1)
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The Pride of the Yankees
"It's box office poison," producer Samuel Goldwyn is said to have exclaimed when he heard the idea of filming the life story of fabled first baseman Lou Gehrig. "If people want baseball, they go to the ballpark!" The story begins before World War I, when young Lou Gehrig (played as a boy by Douglas Croft) begins dreaming of becoming a professional ballplayer. Lou's immigrant parents (Elsa Jansen and Ludwig Stossel) insist that the boy attend Columbia University to become an engineer. While in college, Lou (played as a man by Gary Cooper) becomes a star athlete, and, with the help of sports journalist Sam Blake (Walter Brennan), he is signed by the New York Yankees and joins their big-league lineup in 1925; real-life Yanks Babe Ruth, Bill Dickey, Bob Meusel and Mark Koenig play themselves. He also meets and falls in love with Eleanor Twitchell (Teresa Wright) (an event that actually happened in 1933) and earns the nickname "The Iron Man of Baseball" because he never misses a game. In 1939, Lou discovers that he has a fatal neurological disease called amytrophic lateral sclerosis (now known, of course, as "Lou Gehrig's Disease"). On July 4, 1939, an emotional Lou Gehrig, a scant two years away from death, bids farewell to 62,000 of his fans and friends at Yankee Stadium. Allowing that he might have been given a bad break, he concludes his speech with "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." Deftly weaving basic facts with yards and yards of fancy, screenwriters Jo Swerling and Herman J. Mankiewicz serve up one of the most entertaining and inspiring baseball biopics. A more accurate but less dramatic adaptation of the same story, A Love Affair: The Eleanor & Lou Gehrig Story, was produced for television in 1977. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Bang the Drum Slowly
A guaranteed tear-jerker, Bang the Drum Slowly centers on professional baseball player Bruce Pearson (Robert DeNiro) and his team mate Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty), who supported Bruce to the bitter end after learning that the young catcher was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease and would soon die. When hayseed Pearson first joined the team, he and Wiggen, the team's red-hot pitcher were oil and water. The other team members were none to thrilled to have Pearson on their team. Wiggen changes his attitude when he learns of Pearson's illness, and when the other team members find out, they too become more helpful until the inevitably teary ending. Look for popular character actor Danny Aiello in his feature film debut. The story is based on a novel by screenwriter Mark Harris and was first filmed for television. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

What does a biographer do when the truth about his subject is far less pleasant than the legend? That is the moral dilemma at the heart of Cobb, which explores the lives of both baseball's premier hitter, Ty Cobb (Tommy Lee Jones), and the sportswriter assigned to set his story down, Al Stump (Robert Wuhl). Stump arrives at the Tahoe home of the dying Cobb to write the official life story of the first man inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. He finds a drunken, misanthropic, bitter racist who abuses his biographer as well as everyone else. Stump must either candycoat his subject's life or present an accurate picture of a disgusting man who happened to become an American sports hero. The movie's biting focus on Cobb, ferociously performed by Jones, is not matched by its weaker representation of Stump, an imbalance which ultimately weakens the film's overall effect. ~ Don Kaye, Rovi

Fear Strikes Out
Anthony Perkins stars as troubled baseball great Jimmy Piersall in Fear Strikes Out. Based on Piersall's shattering tell-all autobiography, the film traces Jimmy's ascent from the sandlots of Waterbury, CT, to the Boston Red Sox, with his domineering father (Karl Malden) pushing the boy beyond all reasonable limits. Unable to withstand the pressure, Piersall suffers a nervous breakdown and is confined to a mental institution. Through a long period of therapy, Jimmy realizes that he has excelled in baseball not for his own gratification but to please his father. This film was preceded by a 1956 TV version starring Tab Hunter. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Gary Cooper
    Gary Cooper - Lou Gehrig
  • Teresa Wright
    Teresa Wright - Eleanor Gehrig
  • Walter Brennan
    Walter Brennan - Sam Blake
  • Dan Duryea
    Dan Duryea - Hank Hanneman
  • Image coming soon
    Elsa Janssen - Mrs. Gehrig

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