Take Me Out To the Ball Game (1949)

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be married to a girl who played baseball?”

Synopsis:
Near the beginning of the 20th century, a pair of vaudeville performers (Gene Kelly and Sinatra) take a break from the stage while playing baseball for a team — The Wolves — newly acquired by a sports-loving female (Esther Williams). An acquaintance (Betty Garrett) of a noted gambler (Edward Arnold) takes an immediate fancy to Sinatra, while Kelly and Williams develop affections for one another — but when Arnolds decides to jinx the team’s chances of success by luring Kelly back to the stage, the future of the team and its romantic involvements are uncertain.

Genres:

Review:
Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly co-starred in three musicals together: Anchors Aweigh(1945), On the Town (1949), and this Busby Berkeley-directed Technicolor musical, produced in the Arthur Freed unit of MGM. Williams — who manages to star in one swimming sequence — was a last-minute replacement for Ginger Rogers, and apparently didn’t enjoy the experience much; she’s ultimately less memorable than Garrett, who has a ton of fun singing, dancing, and aggressively wooing Sinatra. The song and dance numbers (many of which include Jules Munshin, co-star of On the Town) are colorful and vibrant, and it’s fun to see the early days of baseball given their glory on screen — however, this film doesn’t distinguish itself as must-see.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Lively songs and dances
  • Fine Technicolor cinematography

Must See?
No, but it’s a fun diversion.

Links:

One Response to “Take Me Out To the Ball Game (1949)”

  1. First viewing. Not must-see. Overall, a meh MGM musical.

    As per my post in ‘The ’40s-’50s in Film’ (fb):

    ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ (1949): Apparently this somewhat-tepid, leaning-towards-dated musical had more than its share of trouble while it was being filmed. (I’ll link the Wikipedia page below and you can check for yourself – but it’s a lotta woe.) It seems it was one of Gene Kelly’s dreams to be in a musical that combined show-and-dance with baseball. But the wish results in an uneven mix. The songs aren’t particularly inspired (sad, considering much of it is Comden and Green material) – and there’s actually very little actual baseball. Kelly’s character is a sexist bore (granted, one that can dance) who reminds us where the #MeToo movement had its roots. Except for Betty Garrett (who seems to have a little extra ‘oomph’ here), the whole film comes off, in performance terms, as ‘a soft sell’ – because ‘After all, why put yourself out?, it’s just the matinee crowd, and they’re very easily pleased.’ Well, not *this* ‘blue-haired lady’! If I want baseball and show tunes together, I’ll take ‘Damn Yankees!’

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Take_Me_Out_to_the_Ball_Game_(film)

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