Take Me Out to the Ball Game (film)
|Take Me Out to the Ball Game|
|Directed by||Busby Berkeley|
|Produced by||Arthur Freed|
|Written by||Harry Tugend (screenplay)
George Wells (screenplay)
Gene Kelly (story)
Stanley Donen (story)
|Music by||Adolph Deutsch|
|Cinematography||George J. Folsey|
|Edited by||Blanche Sewell|
|March 9, 1949 (New York premiere)
April 13, 1949
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.
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, 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.
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. Similarly, Sinatra's role of Dennis Ryan was said to have originally been intended for professional baseball manager (and former player) Leo Durocher.
- Frank Sinatra as Dennis Ryan
- Esther Williams as K.C. Higgins
- Gene Kelly as Eddie O'Brien
- Betty Garrett as Shirley Delwyn
- Jules Munshin as Nat Goldberg
- Edward Arnold as Joe Lorgan
- Richard Lane as Michael Gilhuly
- Tom Dugan as Slappy Burke
- "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
The song "Boys and Girls Like You and Me", sung by Frank Sinatra to Betty Garrett, was filmed but cut from the released film; the video outtake survives today and is included as an "extra" on the DVD.
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.
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".
Awards and honors
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.
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- 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.
- Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Turner Classic Movies
- Williams, Esther (1999). Million Dollar Mermaid. Harcourt Brace. ISBN 0-15-601135-2.
- Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Allmovie.com
- Frank Sinatra - Boys And Girls Like You And Me on YouTube
- DVD release of Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Amazon.com
- Gene Kelly's pre-recording of "Baby Doll" on YouTube
- 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.
- "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.
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