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A League of Their Own(1992)
In a small town in Oregon, farm girls Dottie Hinson and Kit Keller are sisters who compete with each other, even over the little things. With so many young men overseas fighting the Axis, there is a danger that professional baseball will be shut down for the duration of the war. A well-known candy manufacturer, Walter Harvey, contrives the idea to create a professional baseball league for women; both the keep the sport alive and to make a buck or two. Dottie is recruited by a scout for this new league but refuses to go unless her sister is allowed on the team. These women, along with their team-mates, begin a journey that opens up a whole new world, far beyond that of the baseball diamond, lead by team manager, Jimmy Dugan, a washed-up star ruined by alcohol and angered and embarrassed to be the coach of a girl's team.
For more about A League of Their Own and the A League of Their Own Blu-ray release, see A League of Their Own Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 15, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell, Jon Lovitz
Director: Penny Marshall
» See full cast & crew
A League of Their Own Blu-ray Review
A Blu-ray of their own, too.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 15, 2012
Girls? Playing baseball?
There's no crying in baseball, but for fans of the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs, an understandable exception may be made for wailing and gnashing of teeth. Yankees fans may lament the loss of "The Captain" and Houston Astros supporters may despise the move to the American League, but there is no crying in baseball because at least there is baseball, no matter how well or how poorly it may be played, no matter who is playing, and no matter in which league a team resides. A League of Their Own tells a tale worthy of tears, both happy tears and sad tears over the loss of baseball and the joys of the game rekindled and reinvigorated by those given a chance to play, even if their gender separates them from the usual names appearing on pro rosters. The movie is also a tale of togetherness and family, the sort of family bound by blood and the kind forged by competition and camaraderie. It's a movie about the passage of time, of growing up, of finding a place in the world. It's a movie about so much more than baseball, so yes, a few tears are permitted at the end, an end which beautifully frames the true purposes of the story, of remembering the good times, celebrating friendship, and reuniting with family, all thanks to the beauty of sports and, indeed, a few very beautiful women.
It's the height of World War II, and all of Major League Baseball's greats -- from the "Yankee Clipper" Joe DiMaggio to "Rapid Robert" Bob Feller -- have turned in their pinstripes and Chief Wahoo regalia for Army greens and Navy blues. A nation on a solid war footing has all but lost its national pastime, and those serving at home need the game as badly as ever. But who will play? Candy magnate Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) and his whiz kid Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn) have found the solution: a four-team women's professional baseball league, to be called the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Oregon farm girl Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) is amongst the first to be recruited. She's a tough-as-nails but very attractive catcher with a strong bat and a sturdy baseball head on her shoulders. She won't go without her second-fiddle sister Kit (Lori Petty) despite the promise of a double in pay and the chance of a lifetime. When pro scout Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz) agrees to let Kit -- a hotheaded but reliable hurler -- tag along, the girls are off to Chicago for tryouts. Kit and Dottie, along with new friends Mae Mordabito (Madonna), Doris Murphy (Rosie O'Donnell), and Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanagh), make the roster of the Rockford Peaches. They're to be managed by former Major League slugger Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), a boozer who's now hammering nothing but himself and his team's chances of winning. The league gets off to a rocky start, but stellar play, good looking players, and some much-needed publicity elevate the league to incredible heights. Can the Peaches hang together to win it all, or will Jimmy's alcoholism, inner strife between star players, and bad news from the war tear the team apart?
A League of Their Own effortlessly combines a wide array of elements into one tidy, very absorbing movie about life, love, understanding, friendship, winning, and losing, all through the prism of baseball. In many ways it reminds of a movie like Field of Dreams more than it does more streamlined sports action movies. A League of Their Own uses baseball as a backdrop rather than a subject. It's the frame rather than the portrait, and even as the baseball action sometimes dominates the movie, the ever-present personal drama, character development, and underlying themes remain and give shape and purpose to the baseball and even, at times, heighten the dramatic intensity and energy level of some of the games played. The movie is far more a character study and sturdy drama than it is just a historical recreation of one of baseball's most fascinating eras, though it certainly does the latter just as well as the former, critical in shaping the main themes to the necessary levels. Like Field of Dreams, the movie puts its emphasis on relationships, here not between the living and "ghosts" but using baseball to bring families and friends closer together, to sort out differences and give purpose and definition to life. It's a story of equality, where everyone on the field becomes a critical member of the group, defined by talent, togetherness, and success, and not their appearance (at least later in the movie) or gender, of course. The movie champions good, wholesome ideals as well, stating that sports isn't about the biggest and strongest participants but rather the heart of the players and their determination to perform at the best of their abilities, regardless of what they look like or what stereotypes and preconceived notions say about them. Ultimately, it boils down to seizing an opportunity and finding the courage to not only overcome but to succeed.
One of the deciding factors that molds A League of Their Own into such a successful venture is the sense of togetherness and camaraderie of the cast. There's a chemistry between the collective group of ladies that's rare in cinema, shaped both by the individual performances and a script that knits them tightly together and absolutely succeeds in building a true team. Better, several standout performances bring life to not only individuals, but to a group and even an era. The cast captures an authentic period portrait of not only look and style but also attitude. There's a nice mix amongst them, and every core performer dazzles in her ability to so full define her character, right down to the most subtle but critical mannerisms. The collective cast feels like a family and not a collection of individuals; even as the girls try out for the team the seeds of a close-knit group are evident, and they sprout quickly. Amongst the men, Tom Hanks is wonderful in what might be his least appreciated role, lost in the avalanche of Oscars to come in a time in which he was on the precipice of a major breakout, following A League of Their Own with Sleepless in Seattle, Philadelphia, and Forrest Gump. Director Penny Marshall (Awakenings) does well in capturing the speed and grit of the baseball games but otherwise directs smartly from the background, leaving her cast and the fine script to do the heavy lifting and shape the movie in a way the smartly-avoided unnecessarily stylized direction could not.
A League of Their Own Blu-ray, Video Quality
A League of Their Own slides onto Blu-ray with a good-looking 1080p catalogue release. The movie begins blandly, offering flat and pasty details to go along with dim, nearly lifeless colors. The image quality picks up considerably when the action shifts back into the 1940s. Suddenly, colors are vibrant, details steady, and the image crisp. From bright green grasses to blue and red ball caps, the transfer offers a stable and even color palette that brings the movie to remarkably vivid life. Just as important, details are quite strong. Uniform lines and seams, the texture of sewn-on patches, and facial intricacies are all quite good. The image appears very clear and sharp. The bumped resolution allows for all the dirt on uniforms and other very small and specific but critical visuals to stand out with ease. A light grain structure remains, giving the Blu-ray a pleasant film-like appearance. Black levels are fine, and flesh tones never betray a realistic appearance. This is a rock-solid catalogue title from Sony.
A League of Their Own Blu-ray, Audio Quality
A League of Their Own delivers a DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. This sound presentation is even and largely accurate across the board. Opening music isn't the most energized, but it plays with fair spacing and notable clarity. More upbeat and louder montage tunes enjoy the same attributes, just more magnified. Baseball-specific effects come through clearly and realistically, from the crack of the bat to the roar of the crowd, the latter of which does very well in placing the listener in the audience, whether a gathering of dozens or thousands. Fireworks explode with heavy bass in one scene, and a train rattles across the stage with strong energy and seamless directionality in another. Dialogue is smooth and accurate, remaining the property of the center channel. This is a good all-around performer that should satisfy fans.
A League of Their Own Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
A League of Their Own contains four supplements.
A League of Their Own Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
A League of Their Own is an upper-tier Baseball movie that effortlessly intermixes baseball action, comedy, drama, heart, and even values as well as any film out there. Like the best sports movies, it's not so much about sports as it is learning something through the process of playing sports, here the importance of camaraderie and family and the good that comes from both winning and losing, not to mention an examination of gender and equality in sport and life. It's a strongly-acted picture, nicely photographed, and consistently captivating and entertaining both. Sony's Blu-ray release of A League of Their Own features high quality video and audio. Several supplements are included. Highly Recommended.
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A League of Their Own Blu-ray, News and Updates
• A League of Their Own Blu-ray - August 6, 2012
In October, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will bring A League of Their Own to Blu-ray. Inspired by a true story, this sports comedy looks at the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of 1943, which gave a group of spirited women a chance to shine ...
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