A reporter hired to write the 'official' biography of Ty Cobb discovers just how dark the baseball legend's real story is.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ray
Scott Burkholder ...
Allan Malamud ...
Mud
Bill Caplan ...
Jeff Fellenzer ...
Doug Krikorian ...
Gavin Smith ...
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Tyler Logan Cobb ...
Young Ty
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Storyline

Al Stump is a famous sports-writer chosen by Ty Cobb to co-write his official, authorized 'autobiography' before his death. Cobb, widely feared and despised, feels misunderstood and wants to set the record straight about 'the greatest ball-player ever,' in his words. However, when Stump spends time with Cobb, interviewing him and beginning to write, he realizes that the general public opinion is largely correct. In Stump's presence, Cobb is angry, violent, racist, misogynistic, and incorrigibly abusive to everyone around him. Torn between printing the truth by plumbing the depths of Cobb's dark soul and grim childhood, and succumbing to Cobb's pressure for a whitewash of his character and a simple baseball tale of his greatness, Stump writes two different books. One book is for Cobb, the other for the public. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Everyone hated this baseball legend. And he loved it.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language, and for scenes of nudity and violent behavior | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

2 December 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cobb - A Lenda  »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,007,583 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tommy Lee Jones and Lolita Davidovich previously appeared in The Big Town (1987) and JFK (1991). See more »

Goofs

In the panoramic shot of of downtown Reno, modern-day casinos are visible that did not exist when Ty Cobb lived in the area. See more »

Quotes

Al Stump: I put up with your bullshit. I give words, I interpret, I give *life* to your bullshit. And you give me nothing. *Nothing!* But grief.
Ty Cobb: You have never been this close to greatness in your short life son. And you love it.
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Crazy Credits

The latter half of the credits has a voiceover by Jones, narrating as Cobb, regarding the finer points of batting and other aspects of baseball, and how he regretted not going to college, and should have been a doctor. See more »

Connections

References King Kong (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Theme from A Summer Place
Written by Max Steiner
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User Reviews

A great story despite being a lot darker than most sports biographies
7 February 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When sportswriter Al Stump is contracted to write the autobiography of baseball player Ty Cobb, he believes he has it made. Cobb had a reputation as a mean player who is cruel, bigoted and monstrous. Al quickly learns that this reputation was well earned and that Cobb is all the things that he is reputed to be. As the pair set off to Reno in a middle of a snowstorm, Cobb tells him the story of his life, although the bitter, angry mess that is Cobb tells him all he needs to know about the past.

When I sat to watch this film, I was aware that it was meant to be pretty harsh in terms of how it portrayed Cobb, but I didn't realise just how little of his career this film would touch upon. The film never shirks from showing Cobb to be the monstrous man he was claimed to be - either in his cruel career where he would sharpen his studs to hurt opponents or his personal life where he destroyed his family. Despite this the first half (and much of the film) is a fairly lively, almost comic affair that is deceptively enjoyable to watch. What this overall tone succeeds in doing is making the rest of the film that much more shocking and powerful as a result. The first significant turn is where Cobb gets `laid' in Reno - a moment that turns quickly from sensitive and comic to violent and scary and then almost immediately to the tragic.

This film missed out on a full cinematic release due to harsh reviews, but I really don't understand why it got them. The only thing I can think of is that the reviewers felt this was an unfair portrayal of Cobb; I do not know anything about him, nor do I care about baseball as a sport so maybe I am being conned by this film but it is certainly a very interesting character who is looked at as part of an interesting and imaginative film. The film doesn't look very much at Ty's career but instead focuses on the man - this is much more interesting and it is done through straightforward means as well as more imaginative touches such as the extension of the career newsreel to Ty's low points.

The film really works well, but I cannot imagine it being as good were it not for the fiery performance from Jones. I don't know how close it is to the real Cobb, but for the material he gets it just right. He balances the character on a knife-edge to the point that nobody could really feel sorry for him but at the same time it is difficult to hate him. Support from Wuhl is OK but not really as good - he wisely stands in the shadow of Jones. The support cast do well, with a small but important performance from Davidovich.

Overall, this is much darker than I expected from a baseball film from Shelton; however it is better for it. I cannot comment on how fair it is to the real Cobb, but regardless of this it is a really enjoyable character piece with a great central performance. It keeps the audience by swinging wildly between the comic, the dark and the tragic, keeping us with it all the time. It is a dark drama but still enjoyable and sadly great underrated and underseen.


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