During World War II when all the men are fighting the war, most of the jobs that were left vacant because of their absence were filled in by women. The owners of the baseball teams, not wanting baseball to be dormant indefinitely, decide to form teams with women. So scouts are sent all over the country to find women players. One of the scouts, passes through Oregon and finds a woman named Dottie Hinson, who is incredible. He approaches her and asks her to try out but she's not interested. However, her sister, Kit who wants to get out of Oregon, offers to go. But he agrees only if she can get her sister to go. When they try out, they're chosen and are on the same team. Jimmy Dugan, a former player, who's now a drunk, is the team manager. But he doesn't feel as if it's a real job so he drinks and is not exactly doing his job. So Dottie steps up. After a few months when it appears the girls are not garnering any attention, the league is facing closure till Dottie does something that ...Written by
The storyline was inspired by the career of baseball legend Dottie Collins. During World War II, Collins played for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and pitched seventeen shutouts during her six-year career. See more »
The real 1943 AAGPBL World Series was played between the Racine Belles and the Kenosha Comets. See more »
[about Miss Cuthbert]
In the forty-three years I've been practicing medicine, I never saw a woman throw up that much!
I think it's how she entertains herself, Doc.
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The cast is listed as a "Roster" with the Rockford Peaches listed by their positions. See more »
Paramount Network broadcasts in the US speed up at the audio at only 2%. See more »
Generally Enjoyable But Inconsistent Period-Comedy About A Fascinating Episode of American Life
Prior to 1940, the United States economy mostly thrived on the shoulders of the working male. Males were the bread-winners, as they say, and worked for a variety of different companies in many different positions. While we think of these jobs predominantly in factories or in offices, sports players were also employees. Prior to the 1970's, baseball players were similar to employees even though they did make wages several times the national average but not nearly what they make in the 21st century. So what happens when a huge percentage of the working population of males had to leave the United States and fight the Nazis in Europe or the Japanese in the Pacific? Other people had to take those jobs, leading to the rise of "Rosy the Riveter" and other jobs for females. And it also happened in baseball with the rise of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.
"A League of Their Own" tells the quasi-fictionalized/quasi-historical tale of one of the teams of the league, the Rockford Peaches. While there was definitely a Rockford Peaches and their rivals, the Racine Belles, the characters are largely fictitious. The only character inspired by a real person is Dorothy "Dottie" Hinson played by Geena Davis, loosely based on real-life baseball player Dorothy "Dottie" Kamenshek. The other characters, particularly those played by Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell are entirely fictional but give relatively good examples of what some of the girls who actually played may have been like. Madonna in particular was a good casting choice, allowing her to do what she does best as a sexy baseball outfielder. How the film compares to the actual history we'll explore later.
The film begins with Geena Davis and Lori Petty as Kit Keller playing in a softball game viewed by a scout, played with typical obnoxiousness by John Lovitz. He convinces them to tryout for the women's baseball league in Chicago. They go by train and there at Cubs field meet other aspiring recruits, including "All the Way" Mae Mordabito (Madonna) and Doris Murphy (Rosie O'Donnell). Their "manager" is down-on-his-luck former baseball home-run hitter Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks). They end up on the Rockford Peaches and become one of the best teams in the league. One aspect which was very true: the league didn't want "butch"/Sadie Hawkins types on the teams. They desired women who still exuded femininity even when playing the rough and dirty game of baseball. While this attitude is certainly disapproved of in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, it was very real in the 1940's. They were also told no booze and no men. There is a scene where they "escape" the confines of the dorms and party which probably did happen.
The film is mostly enjoyable but seemed very uneven in the comedy versus drama department. A few bits seemed more like scraps from unused Saturday Night Live sketches, such as when Hanks enters the locker room and uses the "facilities" in front of the girls, and this is supposed to be 1943! Another was a kid of one of the girls who was so over-the-top in the misbehavior department, with chocolate all over his face, I wanted to spank the screenwriter! I thought there might be a scene where one of the women puts him in his place but it doesn't happen until about 9/10's through the film. This character should been axed as it served no purpose. Also, some of Hanks' drunken episodes were too over-the-top to be believable.
The film suffers from two main problems. The first was it couldn't decide if it was going to be a straight slapstick comedy or a relatively honest look at one of the most interesting cultural phenomenons which was a piece in a larger puzzle which changed the role of women in American society and culture. Many of the daughters of these women would eventually fuel the Women's Liberation Movement of the 1970's. However the film's desperate need to be "funny" overshadowed some of the larger points about the social roles of women.
The other is the lacking historical accuracy; Hollywood really missed out on a golden opportunity. Women who were part of the actual AAGPBL give the film about 30% accuracy. What was most disappointing was reading about the real "Dottie" Dorothy Kamenshek. Kamenshek was considered to be such an effective player, she was actually considered for recruitment for MLB. One of the managers of the MLB thought she was the best athlete he had ever seen among both men and women. Instead, the filmmakers decided to water-down Davis' attitude towards the game even though her character's accomplishments mirror that of the real Dottie. The real Dottie played for about 10 seasons and she won batting titles. Without giving anything away the destiny of Davis' character by the end of the film is completely different. This league and other institutions in which women participated in nearly identical roles as men changed the United States. However, the film emphasized more of the comedy and less of that aspect. Sort of a B or a B+ at best but could have been quite a compelling contribution to the world of sports films. Instead it's a decent movie with some interesting dramatic moments punctuated by silly comedy.
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