Fear Strikes Out
|Fear Strikes Out|
|Directed by||Robert Mulligan|
|Produced by||Alan J. Pakula|
|Screenplay by||Ted Berkman|
|Based on||Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story|
by Jimmy Piersall and Al Hirshberg
|Music by||Elmer Bernstein|
|Cinematography||Haskell B. Boggs|
|Edited by||Aaron Stell|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
Fear Strikes Out is a 1957 American biographical sports drama film depicting the life and career of American baseball player Jimmy Piersall. It is based on Piersall's 1955 memoir Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story, co-written with Al Hirshberg. The film stars Anthony Perkins as Piersall and Karl Malden as his father, and it was the first directed by Robert Mulligan.
Based on Piersall's shattering tell-all biography, the film traces Piersall's rise from the sandlots of Waterbury, Connecticut, to the Boston Red Sox professional baseball team. Karl Malden plays his domineering father who pushes him further and further.
Unable to withstand the pressure, Piersall suffers a nervous breakdown and goes to a mental institution. After a long period of therapy, Jimmy realizes that he has excelled in baseball to please his father — not for his own gratification.
- Anthony Perkins as Jim Piersall
- Karl Malden as John Piersall
- Norma Moore as Mary Piersall
- Adam Williams as Dr. Brown
- Perry Wilson as Mrs. Piersall
- Peter J. Votrian as young Jim Piersall
- Richard Bull as Reporter Slade (uncredited)
- Bart Burns as Joe Cronin (uncredited)
- Edd Byrnes as Boy in Car Assisting Jimmy Up Stairway (uncredited)
- Art Gilmore as Broadcaster (voice, uncredited)
- Brian G. Hutton as Bernie Serwill (uncredited)
- Morgan Jones as Sandy Allen (uncredited)
- Bing Russell as Ballplayer Holding Trophy (uncredited)
- Gary Vinson as High School Ballplayer (uncredited)
1955 TV Version
|"Fear Strikes Out"|
|Directed by||Herbert B. Swope Jr.|
|Teleplay by||Mel Goldberg|
|Produced by||Martin Manulis|
|Original air date||1955|
Tab Hunter as Jimmy Piersall
The film was based on the book by Piersall which had been adapted for TV in 1955 for the show Climax!.
Rights to the book were bought in July 1955.
Hunter had a romantic relationship with Anthony Perkins. He says this relationship ended after Perkins took the role of Piersall in the film version.
Awards and honors
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote:
|“||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..."
- Erickson, Hal. Rovi "Fear Strikes Out" Synopsis
- Adams, Val (23 July 1955). "TV Scenic Artists Win Pay Increase: Three Major Networks and Union Agree on 3-Year Pact Retroactive to April 1". New York Times. p. 33. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- Shanley, J.P. (19 August 1955). "TV: 'Fear Strikes Out' – Outfielder's True Story Told on 'Climax!'". New York Times. p. 39. Retrieved August 28, 2018..
- Schulman, Michael (15 October 2015). "Tab Hunter's Secrets". New Yorker.
- "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2016-08-19.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Crowther, Bosley (March 21, 1957). "True-Life Story of Jim Piersall; 'Fear Strikes Out' Has Debut at the State Ballplayer Overcame a Mental Illness". p. 37. Retrieved August 28, 2018.