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Fear Strikes Out (1957)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,180 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 13 critic

True story of the life of Jimmy Piersall, who battled mental illness to achieve stardom in major league baseball.

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Title: Fear Strikes Out (1957)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
John Piersall
Norma Moore ...
...
Doctor Brown
Perry Wilson ...
Mrs. John Piersall
Peter J. Votrian ...
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Storyline

Jim Piersall is groomed by his loving but hard-driving father (living vicariously through his son) to play major league baseball. His desire to succeed to please his father leads to mental illness and a nervous breakdown. Can he overcome those difficulties and return to the major leagues? Written by Jerry Milani <jmilani@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 August 1957 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

The Jim Piersall Story  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of Jimmy Piersall's teammates on the Boston Red Sox have unusually high uniform numbers, ranging from the 50s through the 80s. Since numbers that high were rarely used, this move may have been done to avoid associating any real players with the movie. See more »

Goofs

John takes his hand off the netting twice. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Remington Steele: Second Base Steele (1984) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Good movie, but...
5 April 2006 | by (West Orange, NJ) – See all my reviews

Jimmy Piersall (Anthony Perkins) was a major league baseball player, an exceptional outfielder and a lousy hitter. He had an overbearing perfectionist for a father (Karl Malden), was socially awkward, suffered from severe bipolar disorder and paranoid delusions, and fought with his teammates. That is pretty much where the similarities between "Fear Strikes Out" and reality end.

The story takes place in the early 1950s. Little was known about mental illness, and there were few if any psychiatric medications. There wasn't much beyond talk therapy and electro-convulsive therapy (then known as electro-shock treatment). Unfortunately, Jim responded to neither. He spent most of his rookie year in a psych hospital.

In one chilling (although probably invented) scene, psychiatrist Dr. Brown asks if he wants to watch a ball game. Jim doesn't respond, so the doctor flips on a game. A hitter doesn't extend a double into a triple, a play which Jim comments that his father would never approved of. As the conversation moves from baseball to Jim's father, Jim realizes "If it wasn't for my father, I wouldn't be where I am today!"

The film ended in typical Hollywood fashion, with Piersall returning to the team in 1953. I thought the roll of his wife Mary, played ably by Norma Moore, was badly underwritten. There was no mention of the fact that his mother also suffered from mental illness.

As a study of mental illness and its effects on a man, his family, his co-workers, and his career, "Fear Strikes Out" is a very good movie. Trouble is that it is so loaded with historical inaccuracies, mistakes, and "dramatic license" that the person upon whose experiences the story is based distanced himself from the movie.


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