7.0/10
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34 user 7 critic

It Happens Every Spring (1949)

Approved | | Comedy , Sci-Fi , Sport | June 1949 (USA)
A scientist discovers a formula that makes a baseball which is repelled by wood. He promptly sets out to exploit his discovery.

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Writers:

Valentine Davies (screen play), Shirley W. Smith (based on a story by) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ray Milland ... Prof. Vernon K. Simpson / King Kelly
Jean Peters ... Deborah Greenleaf
Paul Douglas ... Monk Lanigan
Ed Begley ... Edgar Stone
Ted de Corsia ... Manager Jimmy Dolan
Ray Collins ... Prof. Alfred Greenleaf
Jessie Royce Landis ... Mrs. Greenleaf
Alan Hale Jr. ... Schmidt
William Murphy ... Tommy Isbell (as Bill Murphy)
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Storyline

A college professor is working on a long term experiment when a baseball comes through the window destroying all his glassware. The resultant fluid causes the baseball to be repelled by wood. Suddenly he realizes the possibilities and takes a leave of absence to go to St. Louis to pitch in the big leagues where he becomes a star and propels the team to a World Series appearance. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Sci-Fi | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

June 1949 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La solución fantástica See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many of the baseball scenes were filmed in the old Wrigley Field. Not the famous Wrigley Field in Chicago, but the former minor league Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. It was the home of two former minor league teams in the Pacific Coast League, the Los Angeles Angels and the Hollywood Stars. It was also the home field of the new American League expansion team Los Angeles Angels for their initial 1961 season. Wrigley Field was also the venue for several other baseball movies, as well as the venue for the old TV show "Home Run Derby". See more »

Goofs

When in the lab as the professor tries to hit the baseball hanging by the string, it's obvious that the string is being jerked up. If the ball moved up on its own, the string would go limp since it can only resist tension, not compression. See more »

Quotes

Manager Jimmy Dolan: [Kelly unexpectedly walks off the field, in the middle of a game, to avoid being seen by Professor Greenleaf and Manager, Jimmy Dolan wants to heavily fine him] Kelly's not indispensable!
Monk Lanigan: I know, but the team can't get along without him.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the movie's introductory song concludes, an Albert Einstein quote shows for ten to fifteen seconds. It is: "The results of scientific research very often force a change in the philosophical view of problems which extend far beyond the restricted domain of science itself." Albert Einstein's name is all capital letters, below the quote or remark, as ALBERT EINSTEIN. Albert Einstein & Leopold Infeld co-authored book, "The Evolution of Physics". See more »

Connections

Featured in Sports on the Silver Screen (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover
(1927) (uncredited)
Music by Harry M. Woods
Played when St. Louis takes the field after Monk hurts his finger
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Strange Case of Professor Simpson
3 April 2004 | by clydestuffSee all my reviews

There have been many pitchers in Major League Baseball who were quite adept at doctoring a baseball. Some, such as Gaylord Perry and Burleigh Grimes, were known to add a little saliva or in Perry's case perhaps a little Vaseline. Doing this would cause the ball to suddenly drop when reaching home plate as if the bottom had fallen out of it. Then there was Whitey Ford, who was said to be able to put a few nicks or scratches in the old cowhide causing the laced sphere to do some mighty strange things. None of these players comes close to being as interesting as baseball legend Professor Vernon Simpson.

Professor Simpson was a chemistry professor at a Midwestern college. He was in love with the Dean's daughter, Deborah Greenleaf and hoped that someday they would be married. College professor's salaries being what they were in the late forties, his only hope of being able to financially support Miss Greenleaf depended on an experiment he had devised that would someday change the world. Like all normal American men of his day, Vernon was also known to get caught up in the Rite of Spring better described as the opening of the baseball season. One day while in his lab working intently on his experiment, some of the young college students were outside practicing baseball. Unfortunately, an errant ball came crashing through the window destroying the Professor's experiment and mixing his chemicals into a convoluted mess. Or so he thought.

While cleaning up the destroyed experiment, Vernon accidentally discovered that the mixture of chemicals left behind had the unique ability to resist wood. After testing the formula in his lab, he recruited the young college baseball players to scientifically examine the reaction of this chemical when applied to a baseball. After acquiring enough data to prove to himself that when the formula was applied to a baseball no hitter could touch it, Professor Simpson had no alternative but to offer his services to the St. Louis Cardinals who were themselves in desperate need of pitching. Although skeptical at first, the owner of the Cardinals did give Vernon a tryout to teach him a lesson. It was of course Vernon and his secret formula that taught the manager and the owner of St. Louis the lesson, and they signed him to a contract that would pay Vernon $1,000 dollars for every game he won.

It Happens Every Spring is a whimsical tale of an innocent sports era that has long passed. It's the kind of story one might imagine as a Disney film from the sixties or seventies starring Kurt Russell as The World's Greatest Pitcher or some other lame inappropriate title. I am eternally grateful that Disney never discovered this gem in order to film a plasticized silly remake. It Happens Every Spring is good enough as it is and far better than any of those films about World's Greatest Athletes or Computers in Tennis Shoes.

A large part of its success can be attributed to Ray Milland. As Professor Simpson, he never lets the character sink into the foolishness of Fred MacMurray's Ned Brainard from The Absent Minded Professor films. That is not meant to deride MacMurray's performance in those films, as his character was played as it was written, but the fact that Milland's Simpson appears more scholarly and analytical makes this film work even better. He sees his accidental discovery as a means to achieving two necessary goals: Making enough money to be able to wed Deborah (Jean Peters)and helping the Cardinals win the pennant.

As Deborah, Jean Peters is gorgeous, charming and delightful. After Vernon's mysterious disappearance, she sets out to discover what became of him and through a series of mistaken coincidences believes he has joined the mob. Paul Douglas as Monk Lanigan, Vernon's catcher, has most of the funniest lines and some of the best scenes, one involving him wearing a splint while trying to catch, and another when he uses Vernon's formula as a hair tonic. He's a pure delight in what I consider one of his best roles.

In the cynical sports world of today, one has to wonder if a remake of this film would even work. Much of what occurs is able to happen because it came from a time when there were no multi-million dollar athletes, no wall to wall TV coverage on ESPN and no cynical sports analysts to dissect every play. One of the major plot lines in this film has to do with Vernon being able to hide his identity, and any redo of this film would just have to dispense with that possibility altogether. In the time in which this film occurs, it works marvelously, and is a joy to watch. If set in the year 2004, one doubts that it could be the same enjoyable experience. It Happens Every Spring may not be the most remembered or notable films about baseball, but it one of the best. And when you are one of the best you get my grade which for It Happens Every Spring is an A. Batter Up!!!!


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