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TV & Film


Ellen Adair May 3, 2023

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This week on Take Me In to the Ballgame:

Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde discuss the 2013 Jackie Robinson biopic “42.” They introduce the film (1:46), with an overview of the story, the cast, and filmmakers, and review the 20-80 baseball scouting grades for rating the film (4:57). Amount of Baseball (7:05) considers the beauty and well-roundedness of the baseball sequences, the feel of the ballgame, and baseball as a character in the film. Baseball Accuracy (14:12) addresses the following *deep breath*: attribution of scouting to Branch Rickey, taking credit from Wendell Smith; Jackie’s hallway breakdown scene; the Commissioner change from Kenesaw Mountain Landis to Happy Chandler; the incomplete explanation of Leo Durocher’s suspension; the court martial of Jackie Robinson; how Robinson and Clyde Sukeforth actually met; things said in first meeting of Rickey and Robinson; the Robinson gas station story; Jackie and Rachel’s wedding; getting bumped off the plane in New Orleans on their way to Daytona; Wendell Smith’s actual first meeting with Robinson; Dodgers 1947 spring training in Panama, kind of; erasure of John Wright, Roy Campanella, Don Newcombe and Roy Partlow; Clay Hopper’s evolution; the Ed Charles scenes; Robinson in rundowns; the police officer who boots Robinson from the spring training game; Robinson’s first game in Jersey City; Gene Hermanski quote stolen for Pee Wee Reese; the date of the on-field side-hug of Robinson and Reese; the evolution of Bobby Bragan’s attitude (plus Dixie Walker, Kirby Higbe); fun stuff about Leo Durocher; awful Ben Chapman facts; Herb Pennock’s conversation; the game play of the Philadelphia Chapman game (plus Eddie Stanky, Dutch Leonard); Reese only gets one strike; Burt Shotton wearing street clothes; inaccuracies with the Fritz Ostemeuller beanball; Jackie was, in fact, caught stealing, and did not lead the league in HBP (Whitey Kurowski did); Enos Slaughter’s motivations; Rickey’s story about Charlie Thomas; and the specificity of Rachel’s speech. Storytelling (1:03:55) muses about this film as “The Jackie Robinson Story” 2.0, its superhero and religious elements, the impact of the time it was made, and the cleanliness of this depiction. The scouts discuss starting the film with Rickey and the other ways in which he is centered in the film. They love the lighting, homoeroticism with Branca, the emotional wallop, and its well-craftedness in the biopic genre. With the Score Tool (1:20:46), Mark Isham’s score understands the assignment. Acting (1:23:40) highlights T.R. Knight and many excellent day players, followed by a long discussion of Harrison Ford’s performance, and the meaning of “character actor” and concept of “personalization,” and appreciates Andre Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Toby Huss, Alan Tudyk, Nicole Beharie, Hamish Linklater, and Lucas Black. Delightfulness of Catcher (1:53:31) assesses the Negro League catcher seen at the beginning of the film, and Bob Bragan. Delightfulness of Announcer (1:57:41) delights in John McGinley’s Red Barber. Lack of Misogyny (2:02:26) considers the depictions of Rachel Robinson and Laraine Day in this film. No spoilers on the following segments: Yes or No (2:05:23), Six Degrees of Baseball (2:09:55), Favorite Moment (2:11:14) Least Favorite Moment (2:13:48), Scene We Would Have Liked to See (2:15:29), Dreamiest Player (2:18:10), Favorite Performance (2:18:18), and Next Time (2:19:27).


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