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Dramatization of the 1932/33 Test cricket series between England and Australia. Played in Australia, the series gained notoriety in Australian and worldwide cricketing history for the fact that the English team (headed by captain Douglas Jardine) applied a bowling technique called "leg theory", or more commonly, Bodyline. This technique involved bowlers bowling the ball directly at the batsman's body, and resulted in many of the Australian team receiving numerous bruises and injuries, with batsman Bert Oldfield sustaining a cracked skull. The series generated much anger and resentment towards the English team within Australia and seriously damaged Anglo-Australian cricketing relations at the time. Written by
Dave Bowyer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"storm in a teacup" to anyone but a cricket fanatic
Immediately after this movie there was an episode of "Dallas". Five minutes into that episode I realized how badly made that show was. Then it occurred to me that it was because the previous show (ie, "Bodyline", this show) was so good!
If you're not interested in cricket, or don't understand it, then this movie has nothing for you. You won't learn about the game from this movie; and it won't motivate you about it.
But if you <are> a cricket fan, then this is an excellent movie. It's all about those things that Sydney Morning Herald cricket writers talk about in reviewing a Test Match after the match has finished. The movie is about personal heroism, committment, team spirit, vision, strategy, creativity, sportsmanship. The captain of the England team, the fast bowlers, the Australian team: they have it. They have it in abundance.
Who are the bad guys here? Well, popularly perceived, it is Jardine, the England captain. But this movie shows a new villain: the Australian Cricket Control Board. Gary Sweet's comment sums it up perfectly: "I didn't really think that the Board couldn't grow a spine overnight".
How would this movie compare against the various Babe Ruth movies? Not at all. All the BR movies I've seen portray him as a redneck, a yobbo, although of course a very talented one (but only in one particular way). In "Bodyline", the atmosphere, the focus, the story of the movie is not about the batsman alone.
Finally, there was also a very good one-hour special about the making of this movie. Remember that this movie was made before the ubiquitous computerised special effects, so the bruising, the battering by the cricket ball - in short, everything - is done via a more "traditional" way. Also worth seeing.
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