The film version of The Natural pulls off the neat trick of conveying the spirit of the Bernard Malamud novel upon which it is based, even while changing both the outcome and the meaning of Malamud's closing chapters. In his first film appearance in four years, Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs, a farm boy with a hankering to be a great baseball player. With his faithful homemade bat "Wonderboy" in hand, Roy heads to the big city. En route, he arouses the fascination of the mysterious Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey). Luring the boy to a hotel room, Harriet asks Roy what he wants out of life. Roy brashly responds he wants to be "the best there is," whereupon Harriet whips out a gun and shoots Roy down. Sixteen years later, a humbler Roy Hobbs emerges from the bush leagues to become a 35-year-old "rookie" on the 1939 lineup of the New York Knights. He soon becomes the team's star player, and in so doing once more attracts enigmatic woman Memo Paris (Kim Basinger), the glamorous niece of the Knights' manager Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley) and the mistress of Rothstein-like gambler Gus Sands (a curiously unbilled Darren McGavin). Roy's fascination with Memo compromises his ability to play, but this time he finds salvation in the form the angelic Iris Gaines (Glenn Close), his childhood sweetheart. From this point forward, the script for The Natural bears very little resemblance to the Malamud original. Without giving anything away, it can be said that Roy Hobbs is given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compensate for the mistakes of his youth, despite the demonic intrusion of inexplicably spiteful sports writer Max Mercy (Robert Duvall). The Natural elevates the art of slow-motion photography to new heights; while this technique would become precious and boring in later baseball films, it works beautifully here, as does the decision by director Barry Levinson and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel to convey the symbolism inherent in the story in purely visual rather than blatantly verbal terms. (If the characters told you that the story was a retelling of the Camelot legend in baseball terms, would you have watched?) Another plus is the pastoral theme music by Randy Newman, which has been well utilized on sports broadcasts and "human interest" TV documentaries ever since. The baseball scenes in The Natural were staged at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York.~Hal Erickson
Featurettes: When Lighting Strikes: Creating The Natural
Pre-Game: A Novelist Steps Up To The Plate
The Line-Up: Assembling The Movie Making Team
Let's Play Ball: Filming The Show
A Natural Gunned Down: The Stalking Of Eddie Waitkus
Knights In Shining Armor: The Mythology of The Natural
Absolutely stunning in 4k. Who ever did this 4k transfer should get a medal. I was amazed how great this looked. The only grain in the movie was the scene under the boardwalk. The color jumped at you. I was never thrilled with the bluray. Grainey through out the whole disc. The Dolby Atmos sound was stellar!
This film is a must see. The story of a one time prodigy whose baseball career was sidetracked by naivety only to get another chance later in life is a compelling story about honesty, determination and redemption. Robert Redford turn as Roy Hobbs is remarkable and the film is loaded with a great cast including Robert Duvall, Kim Basinger, Wilford Brimley, Barbara Hershey, Glenn Close and others. While the film itself is 35 years the 4k Blu-ray release is sharp in detail and the excellent photography used filming this movie really stands out. A++
My favorite movie of all time in stunning 4K. As a 4K blue ray owner for a little over a year now I didn’t like the thought of buying some of my movies again in 4K would be a drag considering I have them on dvd. This movie at the price was just to hard to resist. When you upgrade a movie that is now 35 years old you wonder what the quality will be like because of the age and it wasn’t made in today’s quality. I agree with some reviews of who ever did the transfer did a heck of a job. The picture is stunning and the audio is over the top. If you’ve never seen this film please see it. It’s one of the best sports films of all time. If you’ve seen it like me many times neither in VHS or DVD and looking to upgrade your collection it’s a purchase you won’t regret.
“The Natural” has been a classic for 35 years and certainly needs no improvement, however... the additional scenes in the Director’s Cut version add some interesting perspective. The few added minutes don’t conflict with the theatrical release but fill-In a couple of blanks and provide a contextual bridge in key scenes. Definitely worth exploring for fans of the movie.
An improvement over the blu ray, great sports movi
Owned for 1 month when reviewed.
The Natural is not only an excellent sports movie( one scene is a sports movie classic), but also a fine film in its own right. An involving storyline, some great acting talent, and excellent photography make for a memorable film. This movie is not a comedy sports movie such as Major League, etc. This film developes its storyline at a gradual pace and impresses with its old school sincerity. Furthermore this 4k version is undoubtly the best looking version of this movie and represents a improvement on the previous blu ray version (although perhaps not a dramatic step up from from the blu ray). This is most likely the best that the Natural will ever look. If you already own the blu ray version its worth owning the 4k if you can find it for a good price. If you don't already own the Natural I recommend buying the 4k version first.
It is a fun movie to begin with but seeing it in 4K UHD is the reason I purchased it as is Field of Dreams another great baseball film. I love Wilfred Brimley and in anything and he is great here and acting is very very good enhanced by the format of 4K just stunning
The purchase included a 4K blue-Ray disc, a blue-ray and a free down load of a digital version to Movies Anywhere. A great value at this the sales price of $19.99. This is one of the best sports movies of all time enhanced to high resolution video and audio that was not available at the time the movie was first released. Great picture, great sound, great experience viewing this movie.