Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

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Movie Info

So baseball pictures never make money, eh? Try telling that to MGM, which raked in a box office gross of $4 million on their 1949 baseball musical Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Set in 1906, the film concerns the adventures and misadventures of The Wolves, a champion ball club. The team's success is contingent upon the double-play combination of "O'Brien to Ryan to Goldberg." But while Goldberg (Jules Munshin) lives to play baseball, O'Brien (Gene Kelly) and Ryan (Frank Sinatra) would rather pursue their off-season vaudeville career. Both erstwhile song-and-dance men decide to stick around on the baseball diamond when they mutually fall in love with the Wolves' new owner, the lovely K.C. Higgins (Esther Williams). Though O'Brien wins K.C. for himself, Ryan is compensated with the aggressively affectionate Shirley Delwyn (Betty Garrett). Gambler Joe Lorgan (Edward Arnold), who has bet heavily against the Wolves in an upcoming Big Game, woos O'Brien away from the team with promises of a big role in an upcoming musical comedy. Having let down K.C. and the rest of the team, O'Brien vows to redeem himself by playing in the crucial game. Lorgan gets wind of this, and orders his henchmen to do away with O'Brien. Hoping to shield his buddy from harm, Ryan beans O'Brien with a pitched ball, thereby incapacitating the prodigal player. The crooks are vanquished, and K.C. forgives O'Brien. But upon learning that Ryan had knocked him out, O'Brien charges onto the diamond, thirsting for revenge. Believe it or not, this action results in no fewer than two winning home runs! We offer you this detailed synopsis because it's likely that you'll be too entertained by the film's musical numbers to pay any attention to the story. Outside of the title number and Gene Kelly's solo "The Hat My Father Wore on St. Patrick's Day," the picture's best songs are contributed by Betty Comden, Adolf Green and Roger Edens. Take Me Out to the Ball Game is so delightful as it stands that one can only wonder what the film would have looked like had MGM's first choice Kathryn Grayson--or the studio's second choice, Judy Garland--played the Esther Williams role (In a similar vein, the Frank Sinatra character was originally to have been played by real-life Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher!)
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Classics , Comedy , Drama , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
MGM Home Entertainment

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Cast

Gene Kelly
as Eddie O'Brien
Frank Sinatra
as Dennis Ryan
James Burke
as Cop in Park
Edward Arnold
as Joe Lorgan
Esther Williams
as K.C. Higgins
Joi Lansing
as Girl on Train
Betty Garrett
as Shirley Delwyn
Jules Munshin
as Nat Goldberg
Sally Forrest
as Dancer
Mitchell Lewis
as Fisherman
Richard Lane
as Michael Gilhuly
Gordon Jones
as Sen. Catcher
Tom Dugan
as Slappy Burke
Wilton Graff
as Nick Donford
Dick Wessel
as Umpire
Murray Alper
as Zalinka
Henry Kulky
as Burly Acrobat
Jack Bruce
as Wolves' Team
Si Jenks
as Sam
Edward Cassidy
as Teddy Roosevelt
Richard Beavers
as Wolves' Team
Aaron Phillips
as Wolves' Team
Jack Rice
as Room Clerk
Harry Allen
as Wolves' Team
Mack Gray
as Henchman
Esther Michelson
as Fisherman's wife
Jack Boyle
as Wolves' Team
Eddie Cutler
as Wolves' Team
Charles Regan
as Henchman
Peter Kooy
as Wolves' Team
Virginia Bates
as Girl on Train
Eddie Parkes
as Dr. Winston
Hubie Kerns Sr.
as Wolves' Team
Richard Landry
as Wolves' Team
Joseph Anthony Roach
as Wolves' Team
Robert Simpson
as Wolves' Team
Ramon Blackburn
as The Blackburn Twins
Royce Blackburn
as The Blackburn Twins
Ellsworth Blake
as Wolves' Team
John Burger
as Wolves' Team
Esther Michaelson
as Fisherman's Wife
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Critic Reviews for Take Me Out to the Ball Game

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

A lazy Technicolored cinemusical aimed squarely and accurately at the summer box office.

Full Review… | March 21, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

There is no pretense that Ball Game is anything more than a romp for Kelly's virtuosity.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

It must be said, too, that Mr. Kelly and his side-kick do right nicely by a brisk thing called "Yes, Indeedy," as well as the title song.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

What matters is the stylish ebullience, and the excellent score by Roger Edens, Adolph Green and Betty Comden.

February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The plot is typical fluff -- Kelly and Sinatra join Esther Williams's baseball team at the turn of the century -- but the production values are, as always, worth the price of admission.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

While there's not much baseball played here, this is an amiable film, marked by the enjoyable cast and some lively, if not memorable, music.

Full Review… | May 7, 2014
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Take Me Out to the Ball Game

You're the other nag. The Wolves baseball team's owner passes away leaving it to a new female owner. The team doesn't know how to react to an attractive female owner. She becomes very hands-on during their practices, during their active night life while they ignore team rules, and in their pennant race. "I left her broken hearted at the rod-eo." Busby Berkeley, director of Fast and Furious (1939), Men Are Such Fools, Babes on Broadway, Cinderella Jones, and Blonde Inspiration, delivers Take Me Out to the Ball Game. The storyline for this was lacking and very mediocre but the characters were awesome and worthwhile. The actors deliver excellent performances and includes Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Esther Williams, Betty Garrett, and Edward Arnold. "We're the biggest pair of liars in the USA." This was recently added to Netflix when they had a huge batch of Sinatra masterpieces. This was okay, but I did enjoy watching it all the way through. This is an above average addition to the genre due to its dynamic characters, but not an all time classic. "She's the kind of girl I always dreamed about." Grade: C+/B-

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

Oh my god Esther Williams is SO annoying, no wonder Gene Kelly was hard on her in rehearsal or whatever. Whenever she's off the screen I breathe a sigh of relief, but then she and Gene Kelly have to get together, and then I just want to die inside.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

½

Considering the talent both in front of and behind the camera this is a surprisingly bland albeit colorful musical. Everything is bandbox pretty but there is an uninspired air to the whole enterprise. They do manage to get Williams in the pool once even though the theme of the movie is baseball.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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