Take Me Out To The Ball Game is a fascinating film when you look at Gene Kelly’s career. While credited to Busby Berkeley, most of the film was directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. Years later, Esther Williams would come out and first call attention to Kelly’s seemingly abusive directing style. But, no one made a fuss about it. The year was 1948 and Kelly was at the top of his power. People made excuses for such activities.
Baseball plays on film in a certain way. However, the 1940s and 1950s kept trying to tie it into musicals and dramas. The thrill of sports doesn’t lend itself to the same audience wanting songs and weeping. The trend continues to this day, but it happens at a smaller scale. But, why does that happen? The easy answer is because goofy people that don’t understand sports just want the fun costumes and activity for set dressing.
Take Me Out To The Ball Game is more famous among musical fans for getting On The Town greenlit. So, it’s place in history is necessary. That doesn’t make the movie work. The majority of the film is the two leads trying to win the Pennant and keep the goofier one from getting his legs broke. Romantic subplots in films like this feel like a box to be checked rather than a necessary plot point. Oh well, it is what it is.
Warner Archive brings a ton of special features for their Take Me Out To The Ball Game Blu-ray. You get some deleted musical numbers and a cartoon. Plus, there’s the trailer. The A/V Quality is a little warm and fuzzy, but it feels true to the era. If you dig this kind of musical, then check it out.