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 byBusby Berkeley
Screenplay byHarry Tugend
George Wells
Story byGene Kelly
Stanley Donen
Produced byArthur Freed
StarringFrank Sinatra
Esther Williams
Gene Kelly
CinematographyGeorge J. Folsey
Edited byBlanche Sewell
Music bysee Songs
Production
company
Distributed byLoew's Inc.
Release dates
March 9, 1949 (NYC premiere)
April 13, 1949 (US)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$2,025,000[1]
Box office$4,344,000[1]

Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a 1949 Technicolor musical film produced in the Arthur Freed unit of MGM. It stars Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Gene Kelly, Betty Garrett, Edward Arnold and Jules Munshin, and 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 film was released in the United Kingdom as Everybody's Cheering.

Plot[edit]

In 1908, the fictional Chicago 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. Two of the Wolves' players, Eddie O'Brien and Dennis Ryan, are also part-time vaudevillians. The team's new owner is a woman named K.C. Higgins. Dennis falls for her, and then Eddie as well, while Dennis is the object of the affections of ardent fan Shirley Delwyn. All of them must contend with a number of gangsters led by Joe Lorgan looking to win a big bet by impairing Eddie's play and causing him to be kicked off the team.[2]

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was announced in May 1948. It was based on a story by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, with a script by Harry Tugend.[3] The female lead of club owner K.C. Higgins was originally to be played by Ginger Rogers, but she withdrew a month before filming and Esther Williams replaced her.[4] Williams claimed that Judy Garland was originally slated to star but was replaced because of substance-abuse problems.[5] Sinatra's role of Dennis Ryan was originally intended for professional baseball manager (and former player) Leo Durocher.[6]

According to TCM's Alicia Malone, Williams maintained a positive relationship with Sinatra but did not enjoy making the film because of the exhausting directorial demands set by Kelly. Although Busby Berkeley was hired as director by producer Arthur Freed, Berkeley withdrew and much of the film was directed by Kelly and Stanley Donen. Though the reason provided for Berkeley's departure was exhaustion, his exit may have been necessitated by his chronic alcoholism and depression. However, his touch can be seen in Williams's pool sequence.[7]

Songs[edit]

  • "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (music and lyrics by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer) – Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, reprise by Esther Williams
  • "Yes, Indeedy" (music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) – Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra
  • "O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg" (music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) – Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin
  • "The Right Girl for Me" (music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) – Frank Sinatra
  • "It's Fate Baby, It's Fate" (music by Roger Edens, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) – Frank Sinatra and Betty Garrett
  • "Strictly U.S.A." (music and lyrics by Roger Edens) – Betty Garrett, Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams and Gene Kelly
  • "The Hat My Dear Old Father Wore upon St. Patrick's Day" (music and lyrics by Jean Schwartz and William Jerome) – Gene Kelly

Deleted songs[edit]

  • The song "Boys and Girls Like You and Me," originally written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for Oklahoma! (1943), was filmed with Sinatra singing to Garrett but was cut from the released film; the outtake survives today and is included as an extra feature on the DVD.[8][9]
  • "Baby Doll," sung by Kelly to Williams and including a dance, was deleted from the released film. This footage also survives and is included on the DVD.[9][10]

Reception[edit]

Take Me Out to the Ball Game was a box-office success, earning $2,987,000 in the U.S. and Canada and $978,000 overseas, resulting in a profit of $675,000.[1][11]

The film received modestly positive reviews, although some reviewers felt that the cast was better than the material and that the film lacked a "consistent style and pace."[12]

Awards and honors[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 the premiere of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. ^ Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Turner Classic Movies
  3. ^ Thomas F Brady (May 18, 1948). "Kelly, Sinatra set for Baseball Film". New York Times. ProQuest 108194628.
  4. ^ Thomas F Brady (May 29, 1948). "Beatrice Pearson set for Film Role". New York Times. ProQuest 108194242.
  5. ^ Williams, Esther (1999). Million Dollar Mermaid. Harcourt Brace. ISBN 0-15-601135-2.
  6. ^ Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Allmovie.com
  7. ^ O'Brien, Daniel (1998). The Frank Sinatra Film Guide. BT Batsford. p. 41. ISBN 0-7134-8418-7.
  8. ^ Frank Sinatra – Boys And Girls Like You And Me on YouTube
  9. ^ a b release of Take Me Out to the Ball Game at Amazon.com
  10. ^ Gene Kelly's pre-recording of "Baby Doll" on YouTube
  11. ^ "Top Grossers of 1949". Variety. 4 January 1950. p. 59.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.

External links[edit]