As America's stock of athletic young men is depleted during World War II, a professional all-female baseball league springs up in the Midwest, funded by publicity-hungry candy maker Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall). Competitive sisters Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) and Kit Keller (Lori Petty) spar with each other, scout Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz) and grumpy has-been coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) on their way to fame. Madonna and Rosie O'Donnell co-star as two of the sisters' teammates.
The Drunk and The Babes!
It's 1943 and Baseball in the states has been decimated by all the men being called up to join the services. Enter the ladies who themselves help to kick start a womens league to keep the Baseball fires burning.
The first thing any prospective first time viewer of this piece should note, is that it's not actually a film about Baseball. It's about friendships, challenges and differing off shoots to the complications of war, it just so happens that it's the game of Baseball that brings it all together!
Directed by Penny Marshall (Big), screenplay by Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel (City Slickers/Parenthood) and featuring Tom Hanks (wonderful as drunken coach Dugan) as the leading male, it's no surprise that "A League Of Their Own" booms with sentiment and no little amount of comedy. It is to me a very rewarding picture, the sort that wants you to chuckle along with it whilst noting the need for human interaction during a troubled time.
The lady actors do great impressions of bona fide athletes, asked to parade in short skirts and entertain the watching public, these gals, led by the always engaging Geena Davis, deliver a sparky picture that never veers into maudlin territory. There are of course some sombre moments, but they are placed nicely by Marshall in the context of the films' events, never trite, they serve more as tender vignettes to run alongside the frivolity on offer.
Ultimately "A League Of Their Own" has achieved its aims come the final credits, its not taxing and its not purporting to be an intelligent look at a period in history. It's asking us the viewers to feel heartened by what we just watched, and just maybe to give those girls back in the 1940s a piece of our respect, job done. 7/10
Columbia Pictures, Parkway Productions by Penny Marshall, Kim Wilson, Kelly Candaele, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel.
Stars: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna.
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Sport
Keywords: baseball world war ii sports baseball player female athlete home front woman director 1940s
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