Take Me Out to the Ball Game
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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

4.5 4
Director: Busby Berkeley, Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Gene Kelly

Cast: Busby Berkeley, Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Gene Kelly

     
 

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So baseball pictures never make money, eh? Try telling that to MGM, which raked in a box office gross of $4 million on their 1949 baseball musical Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Set in 1906, the film concerns the adventures and misadventures of The Wolves, a champion ball club. The team's success is contingent upon the double-play combination of "O'Brien to Ryan

Overview

So baseball pictures never make money, eh? Try telling that to MGM, which raked in a box office gross of $4 million on their 1949 baseball musical Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Set in 1906, the film concerns the adventures and misadventures of The Wolves, a champion ball club. The team's success is contingent upon the double-play combination of "O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg." But while Goldberg (Jules Munshin) lives to play baseball, O'Brien (Gene Kelly) and Ryan (Frank Sinatra) would rather pursue their off-season vaudeville career. Both erstwhile song-and-dance men decide to stick around on the baseball diamond when they mutually fall in love with the Wolves' new owner, the lovely K.C. Higgins (Esther Williams). Though O'Brien wins K.C. for himself, Ryan is compensated with the aggressively affectionate Shirley Delwyn (Betty Garrett). Gambler Joe Lorgan (Edward Arnold), who has bet heavily against the Wolves in an upcoming Big Game, woos O'Brien away from the team with promises of a big role in an upcoming musical comedy. Having let down K.C. and the rest of the team, O'Brien vows to redeem himself by playing in the crucial game. Lorgan gets wind of this, and orders his henchmen to do away with O'Brien. Hoping to shield his buddy from harm, Ryan beans O'Brien with a pitched ball, thereby incapacitating the prodigal player. The crooks are vanquished, and K.C. forgives O'Brien. But upon learning that Ryan had knocked him out, O'Brien charges onto the diamond, thirsting for revenge. Believe it or not, this action results in no fewer than two winning home runs! We offer you this detailed synopsis because it's likely that you'll be too entertained by the film's musical numbers to pay any attention to the story. Outside of the title number and Gene Kelly's solo "The Hat My Father Wore on St. Patrick's Day," the picture's best songs are contributed by Betty Comden, Adolf Green and Roger Edens. Take Me Out to the Ball Game is so delightful as it stands that one can only wonder what the film would have looked like had MGM's first choice Kathryn Grayson--or the studio's second choice, Judy Garland--played the Esther Williams role (In a similar vein, the Frank Sinatra character was originally to have been played by real-life Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher!)

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Coming between Anchors Aweigh and On the Town, Take Me Out to the Ball Game is the least accomplished of the three Frank Sinatra-Gene Kelly pictures, but it's still fun And the setting, at least, is fairly unique for a musical. It also boasts one of the busier plots of any 1940s musical -- and yet it really all adds up to just a series of connected incidents rather than a real story. This is driven home when the picture abruptly (and oddly) ends with a lyric telling the audience "the love scene must be played out/before the final fade-out" and referring to the actors by their real names rather than their character names. Still, it's mostly a fast-paced affair, and the musical sequences pack in plenty of entertainment. There's only one trademark Busby Berkeley production number, "Strictly USA," but "O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg," "It's Fate, Baby, It's Fate" and "The Right Girl for Me" are all nicely done. Kelly is cocky and acrobatic, and Sinatra has his reluctant lover routine down pat. Betty Garrett bats home her one-liners like the pro she is, and even Esther Williams comes off well here. The movie also has that great, sometimes-gaudy visual sheen that one expects from an MGM musical. Although he would continue to work sporadically as a choreographer, Berkeley would direct only one more musical.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/13/2008
UPC:
0883929007585
Original Release:
1949
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:33:00
Sales rank:
11,101

Special Features

Closed Caption; Deleted music numbers "baby doll" and "boys and girls like you and me"; Notes on Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly; 3 theatrical trailers

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Frank Sinatra Dennis Ryan
Esther Williams K.C. Higgins
Gene Kelly Eddie O'Brien
Betty Garrett Shirley Delwyn
Edward Arnold Joe Lorgan
Jules Munshin Nat Goldberg
Richard Lane Michael Gilhuly
Tom Dugan Slappy Burke
Harry Allen Actor
Richard Beavers Wolves' Team
Blackburn Twins Specialty
Jack Boyle Actor
Edward Cassidy Theodore Roosevelt
Edna M. Harris Fan
Hubie Kerns Actor
Isabel O'Madigan Actor
Eddie Parkes Dr. Winston
Gil Perkins Actor
Frank Scannell Reporter
Almira Sessions Actor
Bob Stephenson Actor
Charles Sullivan Actor
Dick Wessel Umpire
Eddie Cutler Actor
Peter Kooy Actor
Virginia Bates Actor
Dorothy Abbott Dancer
Murray Alper Zalinka
James Burke Policeman
Sally Forrest Dancer
Douglas Fowley Karl
Wilton Graff Nick Donford
Mack Gray Ganster Henchman
Jackie Jackson Child
Si Jenks Sam
Gordon Jones Senator Catcher
Henry Kulky Burly Acrobat
Joi Lansing Girls on Train
Esther Michelson Fisherman's wife
Charles Regan Henchman
Jack Rice Room Clerk
Sol (Saul) Gorss Steve

Technical Credits
Busby Berkeley Director
Peter Ballbusch Special Effects
Daniel B. Cathcart Art Director
Harry Crane Screenwriter
Jack Dawn Makeup
Adolph Deutsch Musical Direction/Supervision
Stanley Donen Choreography,Original Story
Roger Edens Score Composer
George Folsey Cinematographer
Arthur Freed Producer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Henry W. Grace Set Decoration/Design
Gene Kelly Choreography,Original Story
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Blanche Sewell Editor
Harry Tugend Screenwriter
Irene Valles Costumes/Costume Designer
George Wells Screenwriter
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Take Me out to the Ball Game
1. Take me out to the Ball Game, the Right Girl for me [2:22]
2. Take me out to the Ball Game (Duet) [2:47]
3. Sarasota-Bound [3:29]
4. Yes Indeedy [3:52]
5. New Owner [1:57]
6. Eddie Meets the Boss [3:00]
7. Batter Battered [2:34]
8. Table Manners [1:54]
9. O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg [4:48]
10. Take me out to the Ball Game (Solo) [1:29]
11. Denny the Lothario [2:11]
12. The Right Girl for Me [3:33]
13. Balcony Scene [5:20]
14. Season-Opener Slapstick [2:45]
15. Play Brawl! [3:33]
16. Mother Instinct [1:18]
17. It's Fate, Baby, it's Fate [4:22]
18. Strictly USA [4:41]
19. Kinda Mixed Up [3:24]
20. Right in the Kisser [2:35]
21. The Hat my Father Wore Upon St. Patricks Day [5:52]
22. Show Business Calling [3:23]
23. Eddie's Slump [3:54]
24. Played for Suckers [4:00]
25. "We Want O'Brien" [2:42]
26. Plots Against Eddie [3:00]
27. Medical Attention [2:46]
28. Bottom of the Ninth [2:30]
29. Finale: Strictly USA [2:19]
30. Cast List [:22]

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
his_wayward_child More than 1 year ago
I saw this film on television and just had to have it on DVD! Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra make an unbeatable pair. I can't wait to see it again when it arrives!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like baseball and love musicals you will appreciate the adaptation of Chicago's Tinkers-to-Evers-to-Chance (6-4-3) double play combination. I saw this film for the first time on Turner Movie Classics, after watching it I had to own it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago