A WOMAN’S PLACE IS ON HOME, FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD.
When America enters World War II, Major League Baseball is forced to change; a newly formed women’s league attracts unorthodox players… and one very reluctant coach (Tom Hanks). Big (1988) director Penny Marshall reunited with the star of that film for another charming comedy, this time a reality-based depiction of how women battled 1940s prejudice in a very male field. Done with a light touch that works in spite of the running time; the sentimentality of the final moments hits home because of how attached to the characters we’ve become. A great feel for the period helps, and this is a dynamite cast, including Hanks who’s hilarious as the drunken coach.
1992-U.S. 128 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Elliot Abbott, Robert Greenhut. Directed by Penny Marshall. Screenplay: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel. Song: “This Used to Be My Playground” (performed by Madonna). Cast: Tom Hanks (Jimmy Dugan), Geena Davis (Dorothy “Dottie” Hinson), Madonna (Mae Mordabito), Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn… Garry Marshall, Rosie O’Donnell, Téa Leoni, Bill Pullman.
Trivia: Debra Winger was allegedly first cast as Dottie. Followed by a TV series in 1993.
Last word: “There was a big tryout where [the actresses) were judged on running, catching, hitting. Throwing is always the hardest for girls because they throw differently. But I would not read — and really good — actresses unless they could play ball, or were trainable.” (Penny Marshall, New York Daily News)