The Great Train Robbery

(1903)

Genres:

Jeff Greenfield: Baseball Movies

Transcript for Jeff Greenfield: Baseball Movies

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
Up Next, with baseball season just beginning, our contributor Jeff Greenfield names some of his favorite baseball films. Here’s Jeff.

JEFF GREENFIELD:
Well, the new baseball season is underway; and right now, you may be asking yourself “what is that stunning fact doing in a program about the movies?" Well, for one thing, baseball and the movies began to grow up at just about the same time:



{old still of baseball circa 1903; cut or dissolve to “Great Train Robbery” clip}

JEFF:

The first World Series between the American and National Leagues was played in 1903--the same year “The Great Train Robbery,” a pioneering American film, was released.




But more significant, just about every kind of movie, every genre, every emotional tone, has found its way into at least one movie about baseball.



{Pride of the Yankees}



JEFF:
There’s the sentimental” “Pride of the Yankees,” with Gary Cooper as the dying Lou Gehrig delivering his immortal farewell lines:



{SOT from movie} “today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

{from “Cobb--with brief track up}


JEFF:

There’s the hard-edged: “Cobb,” with Tommie Lee Jones playing a man who was one of the greatest baseball players ever--as well as a racist, a drunk, and more.



{It Happens Every Spring”}



JEFF:
Fantasy? In “Field of Dreams,” the ghosts of players past reappear on an Iowa diamond, with perhaps the best-known line from any baseball movie.



{track up: “If you build it, he will come.”}



{“Take Me Out to the Ballgame”}



JEFF:

Musical comedy? Well, the same year that Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelley, and Jules Munshin teamed up in “On The Town,” they also made “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” featuring a musical salute to a double-play combination: not the Cubs’ “Tinker to Evers to Chance” but--



{trackup ‘O’Brien to Ryan to Goldberg”}



{EIght Men Out”- to “League of their Own”}



JEFF:

The seamy underside of the game? “Eight Men Out” chronicles the owners’ greed that led to the fixing of the 1919 World Series.” The women’s movement? “A league of their own” with another classic line.



{Track up “there’s no crying in baseball”) 


JEFF:
If you like your movies ripped fromt e tabloids, try renting 1989’s Major League featuring a very familiar face in a kind of jam


{Bull Durham”}



JEFF:

And for an ultimate zen philosophy of life, this from what may be the best-written of any baseball movie, Ron Shelton’s “Bull Durham”



{sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.”}



JEFF:

The scholar Jacques Barzun famously said once, “whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball” Come to think of it, if whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America,,,they’d better learn about the movies, too.