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Damn Yankees (1958)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 6 March 1959 (Finland)
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2:26 | Trailer
A frustrated fan of the hopeless Washington Senators makes a pact with the Devil to help the baseball team win the league pennant.

Writers:

George Abbott (screenplay by), George Abbott (based upon the play "Damn Yankees" book by) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tab Hunter ... Joe Hardy
Gwen Verdon ... Lola
Ray Walston ... Mr. Applegate
Russ Brown Russ Brown ... Benny Van Buren
Shannon Bolin ... Mrs. Meg Boyd
Nathaniel Frey ... Smokey
James Komack ... Rocky
Rae Allen ... Gloria Thorpe
Robert Shafer Robert Shafer ... Joe Boyd
Jean Stapleton ... Sister Miller
Albert Linville Albert Linville ... Vernon
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Roy Sievers Roy Sievers ... Joe Hardy - #2 - Washington Senators (archive footage)
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Storyline

Film adaptation of the George Abbott Broadway musical about a Washington Senators fan who makes a pact with the Devil to help his baseball team win the league pennant. Written by Stewart M. Clamen <clamen@cs.cmu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's a picture in a million! Starring that girl in a million, the red-headed darling of the Broadway show, Gwen Verdon! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 March 1959 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Damn Yankees See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Harold Prince, Robert Griffith and Frederick Brisson, who produced the show on Broadway, decided early on that Lola had to be portrayed by a dancer. They offered the role to Mitzi Gaynor and Jeanmaire, both of whom turned it down. Gwen Verdon had received raves for her breakthrough supporting role in the musical "Can-Can." When she was offered Lola, Verdon initially turned it down, feeling she did not possess the sultry physical appearance needed for the role. It was Bob Fosse who urged her to reconsider. See more »

Goofs

During Joe's tryout batting practice, he hits four over the fence. On his fifth attempt, he hits what is called another shot over the fence. However, when we see him from behind the backstop taking this swing, one can clearly see a small cloud of dust to the left of Joe, near the edge of the infield grass, where the ball he hits actually bounces. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Applegate: Have a nice trip?
Lola: Perfect. The plane crashed in Cleveland.
Mr. Applegate: Good. Now about that job in Chicago.
Lola: Just dandy. I got the old boy to embezzle 100,000 dollars and lost it for him at the race track. Then his wife left him and he took to drink. I told him I was through and he jumped out the window... twenty second story.
Mr. Applegate: That's high enough, that's fine.
Lola: I wanna try the Empire State Building on this next one.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Replacements (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Those Were The Good Old Days
Music by Richard Adler
Lyrics by Jerry Ross
Performed by Ray Walston
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Miles and Miles and Miles of Heart"
15 November 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Damn Yankees was one of two Broadway shows written by the team of Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, the other being The Pajama Game which got made into films almost immediately upon the cessation of the Broadway run. Damn Yankees ran in the 1955-1957 season for 1019 performances and both Gwen Verdon and Ray Walston continued their roles from Broadway.

However the protagonist Joe Boyd/Joe Hardy part, the middle aged real estate salesman who is a fanatic baseball fan of the lowly Washington Senators, was played by Tab Hunter in the Joe Hardy persona. As in that other Broadway film My Fair Lady it was felt that one of the leads should go to a bona fide movie name in that case Audrey Hepburn in this one Tab Hunter.

In his memoirs Hunter said that he was apprehensive about taking over a musical lead because he admitted he was no singer. But the arrangements were certainly done to accommodate his limited range and he acquits himself well. He certainly does look well in the baseball scenes and even keeps up with Gwen Verdon.

Gwen Verdon like Mitzi Gaynor came along in the Fifties just when Hollywood was slowing down with the making of musicals due to the decline of the studio system. Gwen did such other leads on Broadway as Sweet Charity, New Girl in Town, and Redhead, but only with Damn Yankees was she allowed to go to Hollywood and repeat her stage performance. Gwen like Mitzi was a fabulous dancer and in the Thirties and Forties she would have become acclaimed film name.

Ray Walston got his career break in the part of Mr. Applegate the devil's identity for this film. Back when I was a lad and first saw Damn Yankees in the theater, I was enthralled by Walston's performance and became a fan until the day he died. Walston plays the devil like a spoiled child and there might just be some theological justification for that.

The big hit songs from Damn Yankees was Gwen Verdon's seduction number and dance, Whatever Lola Wants. Few people ever on stage and screen could move like her.

The second and even bigger hit was Heart, sung her by Russ Brown and some of the other actors playing hapless Washington Senator players under their eternally optimistic manager Brown. The song was a big million seller for Eddie Fisher who was at the height of his vocal career then.

Damn Yankees the film was released in 1958. In 1960 the original Washington Senators played their last year in Washington, DC. For the poor fans of the Senators it was a double blow. The team was just beginning to jell as a contender and in 1965 they did in fact in their new home in Minneapolis/St.Paul as the Minnesota Twins did win the American League pennant as the Yankee dynasty crumbled at last.

In their place came another new Washington Senator franchise which continued in the second division ways that Washington knew so well and that fans like Joe Boyd were used to. They played their last season in the capital in 1971 and the capital was without Major League baseball until 2005 when the Montreal Expos moved and became the Washington Nationals. I'm afraid we may never see the name Senators attached to a Washington team again. The Texas Rangers have the name copyrighted.

Still the Nationals in the other league are doing their best to hold up the Washington tradition of first in war, first in peace and last in now the National League East. Washington saw three pennants in 1924, 1925, and 1933 and one World Series winner in 1924.

They might just need another Joe Hardy to move the team. Let's hope someone doesn't have to make an arrangement with Mr. Applegate to make it possible to beat those Damn Yankees.


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