Take Me Out to the Ball Game (film)

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Take Me Out To The Ballgame (MGM film).jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Busby Berkeley
Produced by Arthur Freed
Written by Harry Tugend (screenplay)
George Wells (screenplay)
Gene Kelly (story)
Stanley Donen (story)
Starring Frank Sinatra
Esther Williams
Gene Kelly
Betty Garrett
Jules Munshin
Music by Adolph Deutsch
Cinematography George J. Folsey
Editing by Blanche Sewell
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates April 1949 (1949-04)
Running time 93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,025,000[1]
Box office $4,344,000[1]

Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a 1949 Technicolor musical film starring Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, and Gene Kelly. The movie was directed by Busby Berkeley. The title and nominal theme is taken from the unofficial anthem of American baseball, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". The movie was released in the United Kingdom as Everybody's Cheering.

Plot summary[edit]

Sinatra as Dennis Ryan
Kelly as Eddie O'Brien

Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a period piece set in 1908. The plot revolves around a fictional American League team, the Wolves,[2] and two of its players, Eddie O'Brien (Gene Kelly) and Dennis Ryan (Frank Sinatra), who are also part-time vaudevillians.

The ball club's status quo is turned on its head when the team winds up under new ownership, and the distress this causes the team is only increased when the new owner is revealed to be a woman, K.C. (Katherine Catherine) Higgins (Esther Williams). Eventually, Dennis falls for her, and then Eddie as well, while Dennis is the object of the affections of an ardent fan, Shirley Delwyn (Betty Garrett). And all must contend with a number of gangsters looking to win a big bet by impairing Eddie's play and getting him kicked off the team.[3]

Production[edit]

Esther Williams as K.C. Higgins

Esther Williams, a star in swimming-themed musicals, did not enjoy her experience filming with star, story-writer and choreographer Gene Kelly. In her autobiography, she describes her time on the film as "pure misery", claiming that Kelly and Stanley Donen treated her with contempt and went out of their way to make jokes at her expense. Williams asserts that Kelly was uncomfortable with the height difference between them, Williams being 5'10", while Kelly was 5'7".

Director Busby Berkeley originally planned a swimming number for Williams, but the idea was rejected by Gene Kelly (though she does have a brief swimming sequence where she casually sings the title song). Williams did, however, form a strong bond with Frank Sinatra. Williams also claimed that she was not the first choice for the role of club-owner K.C. Higgins: Judy Garland was originally slated to star, but was replaced because of substance abuse problems.[4] Similarly, Sinatra's role of Dennis Ryan was said to have originally been intended for professional baseball manager (and former player) Leo Durocher.[5]

Cast[edit]

Musical numbers[edit]

  • "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" - Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, reprise by Esther Williams
  • "Yes, Indeedy" - Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra
  • "O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg" - Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin
  • "The Right Girl for Me" -Frank Sinatra
  • "It's Fate Baby, It's Fate" - Frank Sinatra and Betty Garrett
  • "Strictly U.S.A." - Betty Garrett, Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams and Gene Kelly
  • "The Hat My Dear Old Father Wore upon St. Patrick's Day" - Gene Kelly

Reception[edit]

Take Me Out to the Ball Game was a box office success, earning $2,987,000 in the US and Canada and $978,000 overseas, resulting in a profit of $675,000.[1]

It received modestly positive reviews, although some reviewers felt the cast was better than the material, and the film lacked a "consistent style and pace".[6]

Awards[edit]

Harry Tugend and George Wells were nominated for the 1950 Writers Guild of America Award in the category of "Best Written American Musical". They lost to Betty Comden and Adolph Green, for On the Town, another MGM musical comedy, also produced by Arthur Freed, and also starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett and Jules Munshin, which was released four months after Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ The Wolves start the season on the road against the Washington Senators, and later play the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Athletics, and Cleveland Indians, all American League teams.
  3. ^ Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Turner Classic Movies
  4. ^ Williams, Esther (1999). Million Dollar Mermaid. Harcourt Brace. ISBN 0-15-601135-2. 
  5. ^ Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Allmovie.com
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley (1949-03-10). "Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game'". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 

External links[edit]