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One Touch of Nature (1917)

A hot young rookie pitcher on the New York Giants baseball team is having personal problems that are affecting his game. His father disapproves of both his career choice and the woman he recently married and has basically disowned him.

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Cast

Cast overview:
John Drew Bennett ...
William Vandervoort Cosgrove
Viola Cain ...
Madame de Montignon
Edward O'Connor ...
Shamus O'Brien
John Henry ...
Old Man Cosgrove
Helen Strickland ...
Mrs. Cosgrove
John J. McGraw ...
Himself
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Undetermined Role (as Edward Lawrence)
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Storyline

A hot young rookie pitcher on the New York Giants baseball team is having personal problems that are affecting his game. His father disapproves of both his career choice and the woman he recently married and has basically disowned him.

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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30 July 1917 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

A print of this film survives in the Library of Congress. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Yes, it has a few clichés but this was perhaps before they went on to become film clichés!
28 March 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This short film was part of a DVD set called "Reel Baseball" and it consists of many silent baseball films. This review is based on Disc 2--a rather enjoyable collection of surprisingly good films with excellent musical scores from Kino.

This is a very interesting film from a historical sense, as the great hall of fame 3rd baseman and manager John McGraw is a major character in the film. A minor drawback is that Kino notes that some of the original film is missing (not unusual due to its age) but it seems just fine to watch regardless.

It begins with McGraw hiring a new prospect named Cosgrove. Part of the back story is missing, but you later learn that although Cosgrove is an exceptional player, he has a strained relationship with his father. It seemed like the old man disowned the boy and refused to come to his games when the boy refused to work for the family business AND married a woman against the father's wishes. This all sounds like 1927's THE JAZZ SINGER and many subsequent films.

Well, instead of talking about the season, the film then has a title card indicating that the season went great and they are in the championship game. As the game begins, however, you see that the father IS a huge fan of the boy and listens in to a play-by-play from a sportscaster over the telephone (this is before radio was available in the next decade). However, the guy can't stand to not see the game and so later in the game, he rushes to the stadium.

The younger Cosgrove has had a fantastic game with a triple and stealing home on the next pitch. However, with Dad there, he's distracted and incorrectly assumes the worst about his Old Man. Now here's the odd part. While he had a GREAT rookie season and did the amazing feat of stealing home, when he strikes out later, people are booing him and one guy says he should "go back to the bush leagues"--all this because of one lousy strikeout!! Well, later the boy and father are able to briefly patch things up and low and behold, the boy hits the winning home run (major surprise there).

Again, it's easy to see this as being filled with clichés, but when it came out, I doubt that they were yet clichés AND they managed to pack a ton of film into only 17 minutes. From a historical sense, this is a great film--with shots of the Polo Grounds in New York and McGraw and baseball fans should appreciate the film as well.


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