Mr. Deeds Goes to Yankee Stadium: Baseball Films in the Capra Tradition

Mr. Deeds Goes to Yankee Stadium: Baseball Films in the Capra Tradition

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McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers


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Mr. Deeds Goes to Yankee Stadium: Baseball Films in the Capra Tradition

Celebrated film director Frank Capra was a central architect of the “feel good” movie genre now known as populism, which celebrates people, families, second chances, and other traditional American icons such as small town or pastoral life and baseball. Capra developed his own brand of populism by interweaving traditional values of the genre with a younger, more vulnerable hero starting with Mr. Deeds Goes to Town in 1936. The result, Capraesque populism, has had a significant influence on American pop culture in general and forms a small but important subgenre of baseball movie.
This book examines eight of these Capraesque baseball films, starting with the all-important Pride of the Yankees (1942), which one admiring critic has called “Mr. Deeds Goes to Yankee Stadium.” An introduction provides an overview of baseball and populism. Individual chapters are devoted to the populist legacy from Will Rogers (Capra’s mentor) to Capra, The Pride of the Yankees, The Stratton Story, Angels in the Outfield, The Natural, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, Frequency and The Rookie.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786417735
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 03/05/2004
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 175
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.35(d)

About the Author

Wes D. Gehring is a distinguished professor of film at Ball State University and associate media editor for USA Today magazine, for which he also writes the column “Reel World.” He is the author of 37 film books, including biographies of James Dean, Carole Lombard, Steve McQueen, Robert Wise, Red Skelton and Charlie Chaplin.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Forewords 9

Author's Notes and Acknowledgments 13

Preface: Populism as a Mirror of Our Best Self 15

Introduction: A Baseball and Populism Primer 21

1 Passing the Populist Legacy from Will Rogers to Frank Capra 35

2 The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig 49

3 The Stratton Story: Close Parallels to Gehrig’s Pride 66

4 Angels in the Outfield: A Populist Fantasy 78

5 The Natural: A Populist Adaptation of a Literary Classic 90

6 Bull Durham: A Sexy Packaging of Populism 104

7 Field of Dreams:America’s Favorite Baseball Film 115

8 Frequency: An Unconventional Showcasing of Populist Baseball 126

9 The Rookie: Back to Populist Biography with a Cinderella Story 135

Epilogue 146

Notes 153

Selected Filmography 163

Bibliography 165

Index 173

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Mr. Deeds Goes to Yankee Stadium: Baseball Films in the Capra Tradition 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Who’s who in America” (2012, 2013, 2014) author Wes Gehring’s “Mr. Deeds Goes to America: Baseball Films in the Capra Tradition” is included in baseball expert Ron Kaplan’s “501 Baseball Books Fans Must READ Before They Die.” Gehring’s book also boasts “Forwards” by “Boys of Summer” legend Carl Erskine, and former “Good Morning America” anchor Steve Bell. Erskine says, in part, “Wes Gehring’s book catches this (historical baseball) linkage in a fascinating way and lets younger generations live a little of the past while allowing my generation to live it again---read on.” Bell adds, in part, “What Wes Gehring puts in perspective for us in this delightful and insightful book is the essence of the (Capra feel good) Populist era and the mindset that helped mold our national character.” Thus, the book comes highly recommended.