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Fear Strikes Out (1957)

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

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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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>

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Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

15 August 1957 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

The Jim Piersall Story  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

| (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alan J. Pakula also kept his distance from the set once the film started shooting because he wanted to give Robert Mulligan plenty of space to do his job. Pakula wanted to be collaborative without being intrusive. He would meet daily with Mulligan - once early in the morning before shooting began, and once at the end of the day - but that was all. "Alan was never on the set during shooting," said Mulligan. "It was his choice and not something I demanded...From time to time he'd drop by to walk a new set with me or welcome a new actor to the movie...Once the camera was ready to roll, he'd wish me luck and leave. His visits were always calm and positive." 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

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User Reviews

 
Still has power after 44 years
16 March 2001 | by (Virginia) – See all my reviews

If this story were filmed today, the treatment would be much more stark and realistic. But for a film in the mid-50s, it provided quite a punch in conveying the agony of growing up with a loving but very demanding father. When I saw it in the theater, I never questioned Anthony Perkins as a teenager in the first part; today, this is much more difficult to swallow. Even though dated somewhat, the film is still worth a watch.

Karl Malden is excellent as a father driven by his own sense of failure to attempt to live vicariously through his son. As a result, he literally orchestrates his son's life. Never accepting the `glory' of the moment, he places constant expectations and demands on his son. Possibly this is Malden's best role.

Tony Perkins has some fine moments of anguish and neuroticism as the ball player, Jimmy Piersall. One scene between his father and him after his breakdown is superbly acted with Perkins running through a panoply of emotions. That this emotional turmoil is somewhat subdued is to the credit of the film. Norma Moore gives a competent and rather understated performance as his wife. The doctor, played by Adam Williams, is appropriately comforting, but he's not up to delivering the big line, especially in his intense scene with Malden. Regretfully, Perry Wilson as Piersall's submissive mother, didn't have more of a role.

Some very nice photography using the angularity of steps and bleachers and railroad stations conveys the underlying jaggedness and tension of emotions. Elmer Bernstein's soundtrack is effective in supporting the mood of the film.


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