Guide to Baseball Films: The 1950s

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A quirky and interesting picture that combines magical-realist baseball elements with a story of a lonely man who creates a family for himself out of various unattached women. From an original story by Richard Conlin; remade with less success in 1994.

Criticism: DiPiero

A fine performance by Paul Newman as Henry Wiggen, the pitcher and narrator, anchors Mark Harris's intriguing television adaptation of his novel. Remade as a feature film in 1973.

Musical adaptation of Douglas Wallop's novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant, via Broadway. A pretty static transcription, though it does preserve charming performances by Ray Walston and Gwen Verdon, as well Bob Fosse's choreography and dancing.

Anthony Perkins turns in an inventive performance as Piersall, and Karl Malden does his best to add some humanity to the father's suffocating parenting style.

Criticism: Meyer

Robinson plays himself in this bland and stilted biopic.

Takes the Pride of the Yankees formula to its most saccharine extremes. That formula had already taken a step towards banality in The Stratton Story, but The Winning Team has a less sympathetic hero to start with and must manipulate its audience with more melodramatic gimmicks into cheering for him.

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