7.0/10
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33 user 16 critic

Fear Strikes Out (1957)

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

Director:

Robert Mulligan

Writers:

Ted Berkman (screenplay), Raphael Blau (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Anthony Perkins ... Jim Piersall
Karl Malden ... John Piersall
Norma Moore ... Mary Piersall
Adam Williams ... Doctor Brown
Perry Wilson ... Mrs. John Piersall
Peter J. Votrian ... Jim Piersall as a Boy
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 August 1957 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Jim Piersall Story See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Robert Mulligan felt that the time was right to shoot the breakdown, he gave Anthony Perkins 24 hours notice for him to prepare. To do a scene in which he was required to rant and rave and be very physical was a challenge for Perkins, who by nature was quiet and introspective. Karl Malden recalled, "He was afraid of what he had to do, run and physically climb that fence. So he just had to let himself go and what happened, happened. It rubbed him out." The scene turned out to be one of the most powerful in the film, and most certainly in Perkins' career. "Though he didn't know the first thing about the game and had to be taught how to throw a ball from the outfield," said Malden, "he ended up turning in a stunning performance." See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the film, when Jim's father (played by Karl Malden) goes into the kitchen to wash up after work, the shadow of the camera can be seen on the far wall. Then a shadow of the boom mic is seen on the wall shortly after that as the camera pans left. See more »

Quotes

Jim Piersall: I don't care what happens. I love you Mary!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Tab Hunter Confidential (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Sensational story of a baseball star's mental illness.
10 July 2000 | by michaelRokeefeSee all my reviews

This a very interesting, but not totally factual, account of the life of Jimmy Piersall. Piersall was a popular player with the Boston Red Sox. His antics on and off the field are now legendary. Piersall fell in love with baseball at a young age, but his domineering father forced Jimmy to not only achieve, but to play to perfection. Mr. Piersall's constant manipulating can be traced to his son's mental breakdown.

Anthony Perkins puts in a dedicated performance as Jimmy Piersall. Karl Malden excelled as the relentless Mr. Piersall. Also in the cast are Bart Burns, Norma Moore and Adam Williams.

This is a very stark and interesting movie, just don't take all the content as gospel. A baseball fan's delight.


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