Take Me Out To the Ball Game (1949)

Take Me Out To the Ball Game (1949)

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

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, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Baseball
  • Busby Berkeley Films
  • Edward Arnold Films
  • Frank Sinatra Films
  • Gambling
  • Gene Kelly Films
  • Musicals
  • Strong Females

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.


One thought on “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!’


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