Fear Strikes Out

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Fear Strikes Out
Directed by Robert Mulligan
Produced by Alan J. Pakula
Written by Ted Berkman, Raphael Blau
Starring Anthony Perkins
Karl Malden
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography Haskell B. Boggs
Edited by Aaron Stell
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • March 20, 1957 (1957-03-20)
Running time 100 min.
Country United States
Language English

Fear Strikes Out (1957) is a dramatic film depicting the life and career of American baseball player Jimmy Piersall. It is based on Piersall's biography Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story, written by Al Hirshberg. The film stars Anthony Perkins as Piersall and Karl Malden as his father, and it was directed by Robert Mulligan. This film is a Paramount Picture. Gary Vinson had an uncredited role in the film as a high school baseball player.


Based on Piersall's shattering tell-all biography, the film traces Jimmy's ascent from the sandlots of Waterbury, Connecticut, 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.[1]




Bosley Crowther of the New York Times said: "Oddly enough, the scenes of baseball, while interesting in this account, are secondary to the scenes of drama between the father and his son. The issues are not whether Piersall will snag those long flies or clout home runs but whether he will have the approval of his old man, sitting there in the stands. The weight of the paternal ambition is the critical factor in this film. And it is felt by the nerve-racked observer to the point where it is recognizable that the young man must go mad. ... Fortunately, Mr. Perkins plays the young fellow excellently, not only conveying the gathering torment but also actually looking like a ballplayer on the field. And Karl Malden is compelling as the father, combining the ignorant dominance of a bitter man with the occasional tenderness of a parent who genuinely loves his only son. ...Robert Mulligan's direction is vigorous..."[2]


  1. ^ Hal Erickson, Rovi "Fear Strkes Out" Synopsis http://www.fandango.com/fearstrikesout_v16966/plotsummary
  2. ^ Bosley Crowther, "True-Life Story of Jim Piersall; 'Fear Strikes Out' Has Debut at the State Ballplayer Overcame a Mental Illness" Mar. 21, 1957 http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F01E3DE163EE03BBC4951DFB566838C649EDE

External links[edit]