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Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | April 1949 (USA)
Two turn-of-the-century baseball players, who work in vaudeville during the off-season, run into trouble with their team's new female owner and a gambler who doesn't want them to win the pennant.

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

Complete credited cast:
... Dennis Ryan
... K.C. Higgins
... Eddie O'Brien
... Shirley Delwyn
... Joe Lorgan
... Nat Goldberg
... Michael Gilhuly
... Slappy Burke
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Storyline

The Wolves baseball team gets steamed when they find they've been inherited by one K.C. Higgins, a suspected "fathead" who intends to take an active interest in running the team. But K.C. turns outs to be a beautiful woman who really knows her baseball. Second baseman Dennis Ryan promptly falls in love. But his playboy roommate Eddie O'Brien has his own notions about how to treat the new lady owner and some unsavory gamblers have their own ideas about how to handle Eddie. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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M-G-M's Gay Technicolor Musical! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

April 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La linda dictadora  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,725,970 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Audiences are often baffled by the noticeable lack of swimming sequences for Esther Williams in this film. The role of K.C. Higgins was actually conceived for Kathryn Grayson, as the film was initially envisioned as a follow-up to Anchors Aweigh (1945), in which Grayson had co-starred with Sinatra and Kelly. By the time filming began, the role had fallen to Williams - a decision Gene Kelly vehemently fought - and there was no time to incorporate acquatic sequences for the leading lady. In addition, the film's turn-of-the-century time period and testosterone-driven plot worked against displaying the leggy swimming numbers that made Williams a star. To ensure that her fans would not go home disappointed, producer Arthur Freed saw to it that Williams at least swam several laps across the hotel pool just prior to the wooing scene. See more »

Goofs

Theodore Roosevelt is portrayed as throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game. The practice of presidents throwing out the first pitch did not begin until the presidency of William Howard Taft, Roosevelt's successor. See more »

Quotes

Nat Goldberg: What are you running away for? What's the matter with you?
Eddie O'Brien: She just wants to mother ya.
Dennis Ryan: What? With a whip in her hand? Are you crazy or something?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Frank in the Fifties (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Music by Albert von Tilzer
Lyrics by Jack Norworth
Performed by Gene Kelly (uncredited) and Frank Sinatra (uncredited)
Reprised by Esther Williams (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

"Sinatra Gets Garrett, Kelly gets Williams"
5 December 1999 | by See all my reviews

"Take Me Out To The Ball Game" and "On The Town" were both made in 1949, and they both follow MGM's house formula pretty closely. The same three heroes are in uniform again (Kelly, Sinatra and Munshin), and Betty Garrett is once more pursuing Frankie aggressively, while Munshin is the comedian and Kelly the skirt-chaser.

The action is set in the first decade of the 20th century. Ed O'Brien (Kelly) and Dennis Ryan (Sinatra) are song-and-dance men in the winter and star players for 'The Wolves', a major league baseball team, during the summer. K.C. Higgins (Esther Williams) is a rich and beautiful young woman who buys the club and becomes involved in the personal lives of O'Brien & Ryan.

Baseball is the ideal setting for a nostalgic movie of this kind, and not just because it provides a team matrix in which to slot the male stars. Baseball has a venerable history to it, so the film can be set convincingly in the past. Kelly very nearly pursued a career as short stop with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and 'The Wolves', with their overwhelmingly Irish ethnicity, are fairly obviously based on the real-life Boston Redsox.

Busby Berkeley directs in a restrained, conservative style which suits this middle-of-the-road family entertainment. Esther Williams is terrific as Katherine. She sings, she dances, she acts - and yes, she even gets to swim! Sinatra crooning a romantic ballad to Esther is one of cinema's more unlikely permutations, but it happens here.

The songs are serviceable but little more, though the lyrics are sometimes amusing, pushing metre and rhyme into interesting contortions:

"I've gone and studied up on my astrology, I'm really knowledge-y!"

The only memorable song is the title number, but that dates back to the early 1900's. A clam bake on Giddy's Landing is all-American fun and gives scope for a big production piece. Notice how Berkeley makes the most of a cramped set by filming the chorus line at an oblique angle.

If this likeable but inconsequential film has some enjoyable moments (I liked the unsporting opponent tagging out the unconscious Ryan), it also contains a few curious editing decisions. At the end of the big number at the clam bake, there is a rapid forward-reverse 'hiccup', more usually seen in pop videos. In the latter part of Kelly's solo on the wharf, the scene strangely shifts to a new set. Both Shirley and O'Brien have distracting shadows across their faces in the protracted dancing on the wharf.

The end comes a little suddenly and without proper resolution, and then we get the rather oddly tacked-on vaudeville sequence. It all works, but with considerably less polish than its sister movie, "On The Town".


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