An unknown middle-aged batter named Roy Hobbs with a mysterious past appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930s baseball team to the top of the league in this magical sports fantasy. With the aid of a bat cut from a lightning struck tree, Hobbs lives the fame he should have had earlier when, as a rising pitcher, he is inexplicably shot by a young woman.Written by
Keith Loh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While Darren McGavin had a major supporting role as the bookmaker Gus Sands, he received no credit. In the recent retrospective documentary on the Special Edition DVD of this movie, Robert Prosky (the Judge) claimed that McGavin was cast late in the picture, and would have received a lesser billing than the other stars. As a result, McGavin chose to go uncredited. Prosky noted that McGavin wound up "drawing more attention to himself" as a result. See more »
On the occasions when Hobbs hits significant home runs there are photographers within a few feet of home plate snapping flash photos. This was actually the custom at the time, and photographers were known to routinely be within 10-15 feet of plays as they happened. As technology improved, this was no longer necessary, but the practice was formally banned by the National League in 1954 in part after a photographer dictated a manager/umpire argument to a reporter and the accurate remarks were published by national news.
...And yes, these photographers were sometimes hit by foul balls, errant throws, or collided with fielders or runners trying to make a play. See more »
Whenever "The Natural" is on TV, I stop what I'm doing and watch it. I don't know why, exactly. I have been a baseball fan since I was a little kid and love the tradition. There is no other sport that has as much history. It's because one can isolate moments in time. Situations develop. Every announcer says things like, "Bottom of the third, men on first and third, Turley on the mound, Simpson is up, he's two for four today. The wind is blowing out to right field, etc." We can make words visual. In this wonderful movie, a man wants a piece of that tradition. He makes a horrible mistake along the way to the big leagues, and now is given one last chance. This is mythical. This is not realistic. To criticize it on the basis of its credibility is unfair. Even to compare it to the book is unfair. They are totally different. What one does with a camera should not be compared to the printed page. Malamud did his thing and now Barry Levinson is doing his. The cinematography is without peer. It is magical all the way through. The lighting as Glenn Close stands up in the stands is mesmerizing. This is more Greek myth than baseball story, but it is a baseball story, with the Ruth like gods and the day-to-day players. Roy Hobbs is like all of us in some ways and we love him for his endurance, patience, and drive. Redford brings him to life with that rugged face moving away from lost youth. It's a fine film.
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