Eight Men Out (1988)

PG | 120 mins | Drama | 2 September 1988

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HISTORY

       An announcement in the 27 Mar 1977 HR stated that rights to author Eliot Asinof’s 1963 book, Eight Men Out, had been acquired by Black Sox Company, Inc.Inc. A year later, the 24 Feb 1978 DV reported that Wid Slick Prods., in association with Management West Inc., were to produce a project that would “dramatize an adaption of Eliot Asinof’s story.” Attached to the project were Fred Underhill as producer, and Peter Delacorte as screenwriter. Seven months later, the 18 Sep 1978 DV noted that Black Sox Prods. had approached The Ohio Film Bureau for permission to film the picture for two months in Cincinnati, OH.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producers Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury purchased an option on Asinof’s book in 1980. As reported in a 1 Sep 1988 LAHExam article, Sanford and Pillsbury “started looking at directors” for the project, including Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Walter Hill, Philip Kaufman, and Ron Shelton, before meeting with director-writer John Sayles. Production notes and a Sep 1988 Box article noted that Sayles had previously written a script based on Eight Men Out in the mid-1970s as a sample screenplay to obtain a film agent.
       According to a 25 Oct 1987 LAT article, Sanford and Pillsbury worked to obtain financing for the picture by putting “together new packages built around name actors,” such as Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise and Kevin Bacon. The Sep 1988 Box revealed that Sayles originally envisioned actors Martin Sheen and Stacy Keach, as ... More Less

       An announcement in the 27 Mar 1977 HR stated that rights to author Eliot Asinof’s 1963 book, Eight Men Out, had been acquired by Black Sox Company, Inc.Inc. A year later, the 24 Feb 1978 DV reported that Wid Slick Prods., in association with Management West Inc., were to produce a project that would “dramatize an adaption of Eliot Asinof’s story.” Attached to the project were Fred Underhill as producer, and Peter Delacorte as screenwriter. Seven months later, the 18 Sep 1978 DV noted that Black Sox Prods. had approached The Ohio Film Bureau for permission to film the picture for two months in Cincinnati, OH.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, producers Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury purchased an option on Asinof’s book in 1980. As reported in a 1 Sep 1988 LAHExam article, Sanford and Pillsbury “started looking at directors” for the project, including Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Walter Hill, Philip Kaufman, and Ron Shelton, before meeting with director-writer John Sayles. Production notes and a Sep 1988 Box article noted that Sayles had previously written a script based on Eight Men Out in the mid-1970s as a sample screenplay to obtain a film agent.
       According to a 25 Oct 1987 LAT article, Sanford and Pillsbury worked to obtain financing for the picture by putting “together new packages built around name actors,” such as Emilio Estevez, Tom Cruise and Kevin Bacon. The Sep 1988 Box revealed that Sayles originally envisioned actors Martin Sheen and Stacy Keach, as Sayles had “been wanting to make this movie for so long.”
       The 4 Jun 1987 HR noted that the film was given “a go-ahead” with a budget of $6.5 million with Orion Pictures distributing, and RKO Film Group executive producer. RKO Film Group is not credited onscreen.
       Actor Emilio Estevez had been attached to the project for two years to play White Sox third baseman “Buck Weaver,” but withdrew before filming, as mentioned in the 27 Aug 1987 HR. Actor Charlie Sheen, Estevez’s brother, was then cast as “Oscar “Hap” Felsch,” a White Sox outfielder.
       The 22 Sep 1987 HR production chart stated that principal photography began on 16 Sep 1987 in Indiana. Although the HR production chart and 24 Jul 1987 HR news item listed Black Sox Inc. as producing the film, the company is not credited onscreen. According to production notes, filming took place at Bush Stadium in Indianapolis, IN, and Cincinnati, OH. A 16 Sep 1987 DV brief reported a filming schedule of nine weeks, moving between Cincinnati, OH, Louisville, KY, and Indianapolis, IN. Filming wrapped on schedule as noted in a 16 Jun 1988 Rolling Stone article.
       According to the 31 Aug 1988 NYT, Sayles originally wanted former professional baseball player Don Leppert as an adviser on the picture. Leppert was unavailable, but recommended Ken Berry, another former professional baseball player. As reported in the 25 Oct 1987 LAT, the actors portraying baseball players went through “three weeks of basic spring-training-type workouts” led by Berry before filming got underway. During the summer 1987, before the start of principal photography, the 9 Oct 1987 NYT reported actor D. B. Sweeney practicing with the Kenosha [Wisconsin] Twins, a farm team for the Minnesota Twins, while the 25 Oct 1987 LAT reported that actor Charlie Sheen had attended batting practices with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
       Reports on the film’s budget varied: the 31 Mar 1988 Exhibitor Relations Co., Inc. listed a budget of $8 million, while 16 Jun 1988 Rolling Stone and Sep 1988 Box reported $6.5 million, and the 1 Sep 1988 LAHExam reported $6.8 million.
       The 31 Mar 1988 Exhibitor Relations Co., Inc. and 19 Jun 1988 LAT brief announced the picture’s release for Aug 1988.
       A 10 Aug 1988 Var news item reported that the film’s premiere was scheduled for 24 Aug 1988 in Cincinnati, OH, presented by the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company and Ohio Film Bureau, to benefit the American Film Institute, the Baseball Alumni Team, and the Powel Crosley, Jr., Amateur Baseball Fund.
       Following the premiere, a 25 Aug 1988 Exhibitor Relations Co., Inc. press release announced the picture’s opening date was being moved to 2 Sep 1988.
End credits include the following epilogue: “‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson and the other banned White Sox never played Major League Baseball again. Buck Weaver tried to clear his name every year until his death. His appeals were denied.” End credits state: “We’d liked to thank the following for their support: AAA American Flag; Virginia Davis & Cathy Jones, Academy of Hair Care; Alfred Dunhill of London; Arsenal Technical High School; Artcarved Class Rings; Athenaeum Turners; Stacy Auerhan, Travel Horizons Unlimited; Bank One, Indianapolis; The Baseball Hall of Fame; Bushnell Division of Bausch & Lomb; Bayer; Beeman’s Gum; Bradford Consultants; Celestial Seasonings; Chicago Tribune; Cincinnati Club/New Leaf Corporation; Cincinnati Fire Museum; Colgate-Palmolive Company; Columbia Club; Crackerjack Division of Borden, Inc.; Draperies and Fabric Plus; First National Bank, Chicago; Al Gavin; General Electric; Glenbrook Laboratories Division of Sterling Drugs; The Glidden Paint Company; Richard Guay; Hillerich and Bradsby; Hoosier Travel; Indiana Barber Stylist College; Indiana Furniture Company; Indiana Medical History Museum; Indiana Railway Museum; Indiana State Library; Indianapolis Indians; Jim Jacobs, Fight Films; Joanna Window Shade Company; Hank Kaplan; Kentucky College of Barber Styling; Kimball Furniture Reproductions; Kuppenheimer Men’s Clothiers; Linda Lichter; Richard Lindberg; Major League Baseball; Malmstrom Monogramming; Linda Maron; Michelin Tire Corporation; Patty Marquet, Moler Hollywood Beauty College, Cincinnati; The Morse Telegraph Club; Museum of International Photography; National Cosmetology Association; National Weather Service, Indianapolis; Pepsi-Cola Company; Phillips Milk of Magnesia; George Pillsbury; The Pillsbury Company; Philip Morris Company USA; Quantum Films; The Queensboro Shirt Company; Quik Printing; Rawlings Sporting Goods; Harold Seymour, PhD; Shuron, Inc.; Stetson Hat Company; Barrie Sullivan II; Scott Tackett; T.A.R.C.; The Tapestry Upholstery; Tetley Tea Company; USAIR; Wetter Lampshade Company; Wilson Sporting Goods.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Sep 1988
pp. 7-8.
Daily Variety
24 Feb 1978
pp. 19-18.
Daily Variety
18 Sep 1978
p. 3.
Daily Variety
16 Sep 1987
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Mar 1977.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jun 1987
p. 1, 14.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jul 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 1987
p. 1, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Sep 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 1988
p. 3, 15.
LAHExam
1 Sep 1988
p. B-1, B-6.
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1987
Calendar, p. 3, 99-100.
Los Angeles Times
19 Jun 1988
Calendar, p. 23, 29.
Los Angeles Times
2 Sep 1988
Calendar, p. 1.
New York Times
9 Oct 1987
Section C, p. 8.
New York Times
31 Aug 1988
Section D, p. 25.
New York Times
2 Sep 1988
Section C, p. 3.
Rolling Stone
16 Jun 1988
p. 75, 128.
Variety
10 Aug 1988
p. 24.
Variety
31 Aug 1988
pp. 15-16.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
The Gamblers:
The Newspapermen:
The Owners:
The Kids:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An Orion® Pictures Release
A Sanford/Pillsbury Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Asst prod mgr
2d 2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Wrt for the screen by
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Gaffer
Key grip
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Loader
Video assist
Still photog
Best boy electric
Elec
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
2d unit dir of photog
2d unit 1st asst cam
Cam supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Apprentice ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Const coord
Set dec
Chargeman scenic artist
Prop master
Leadperson
Buyer
Head on-set dresser
Asst on-set dresser
Dresser
Dresser
Dresser
Dresser
Dresser
Asst const coord
Lead carpenter
Lead carpenter
Lead carpenter
Lead carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenters' asst
Lead scenic artist
Lead scenic artist
Lead scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Scenic artist
Asst prop
2d asst prop
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Asst cost des
Seamstress
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward prod asst
Ward prod asst
MUSIC
Mus performed by
Mus performed by
Mus performed by
Mus performed by
Mus performed by
Mus performed by
Mus performed by
Mus performed by
Band arr
String arr
Mus mixed by
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Apprentice sd ed
Re-rec
Foley artist
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec opt eff des
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting, New York
Casting, Los Angeles
Casting, Los Angeles
Casting, Loc
Loc mgr
Auditor
Scr supv
Unit mgr
Transport coord
Asst prod coord
Asst auditor
Casting asst
Baseball coach
Baseball coach
Post-pro supv
Post-pro coord
Indiana loc scout
Ohio loc coord
Transportation co-capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Key prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
Office prod asst
New York casting assoc
Casting prod asst
Casting prod asst
Baseball extras coord
Art office coord
Art office coord
Cincinnati art coord
Craft services
Intern
Public relations
Promotions
Promotions
Caterer
Equip supplied by
Laboratory services
COLOR PERSONNEL
Lab services
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the book Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof (New York, 1963).
AUTHOR
SONGS
“I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles,” written by Jann Kenbrovin and John William Kellette, published by Warner Bros. Music, a division of Warner Bros. Inc., used by permission, all rights reserved
“After You’ve Gone,” written by Henry Creamer and Turner Layton, published by Morley Music Co., Inc., performed by Leigh Harris, used by permission, all rights reserved
“I Be Blue,” written by John Sayles and Mason Daring, performed by Leigh Harris.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
2 September 1988
Premiere Information:
Premiere in Cincinnati, OH: 24 August 1988
Los Angeles and New York openings: 2 September 1988
Production Date:
16 September -- mid November 1987
Copyright Claimant:
Orion Pictures Corporation
Copyright Date:
15 September 1988
Copyright Number:
PA395745
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
120
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29161
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1919 Chicago, Illinois, gamblers “Sleepy” Bill Burns and Billy Maharg watch the Chicago White Sox play at Comiskey Field against the St. Louis Browns for the American League pennant, and a spot in the World Series against the Cincinnati Redlegs. Burns informs Maharg that while the White Sox are the most talented baseball players in the country, particularly outfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and veteran pitcher Eddie Cicotte, the team’s owner, Charles “Commy” Comiskey, pays the lowest salaries in the league. When the White Sox win the game, Burns and Maharg plot to offer money to the Sox players to purposely lose the World Series, while they bet on Cincinnati to win. In the evening, “Sport” Sullivan, a gambler from Boston, Massachusetts, approaches first baseman Arnold “Chick” Gandil about the Sox’s “throwing” the World Series. Unhappy with the low wages Comiskey pays, Chick promises to convince seven or eight men to play badly. As Chick tells shortstop Charles “Swede” Risberg about Sport Sullivan’s offer, Fred McMullin, a second-string player, overhears and demands to be included. After Swede and Chick agree, Bill Burns appears. Without telling Burns about the agreement, Swede takes Burns’s offer to lose the World Series. Chick is worried about the gamblers finding out, but Swede convinces him that they will double their money. Later, Chick talks to Eddie Cicotte about his deal with Sullivan, Burns and Maharg, but Eddie declines, saying Comiskey promised him a $10,000 bonus for winning thirty games. However, Eddie learns he only won twenty-nine games, as Comiskey purposely benched him for two weeks. When Comiskey refuses to pay, Eddie tells Chick he will take the gamblers’ money, but wants $20,000 before the ... +


In 1919 Chicago, Illinois, gamblers “Sleepy” Bill Burns and Billy Maharg watch the Chicago White Sox play at Comiskey Field against the St. Louis Browns for the American League pennant, and a spot in the World Series against the Cincinnati Redlegs. Burns informs Maharg that while the White Sox are the most talented baseball players in the country, particularly outfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and veteran pitcher Eddie Cicotte, the team’s owner, Charles “Commy” Comiskey, pays the lowest salaries in the league. When the White Sox win the game, Burns and Maharg plot to offer money to the Sox players to purposely lose the World Series, while they bet on Cincinnati to win. In the evening, “Sport” Sullivan, a gambler from Boston, Massachusetts, approaches first baseman Arnold “Chick” Gandil about the Sox’s “throwing” the World Series. Unhappy with the low wages Comiskey pays, Chick promises to convince seven or eight men to play badly. As Chick tells shortstop Charles “Swede” Risberg about Sport Sullivan’s offer, Fred McMullin, a second-string player, overhears and demands to be included. After Swede and Chick agree, Bill Burns appears. Without telling Burns about the agreement, Swede takes Burns’s offer to lose the World Series. Chick is worried about the gamblers finding out, but Swede convinces him that they will double their money. Later, Chick talks to Eddie Cicotte about his deal with Sullivan, Burns and Maharg, but Eddie declines, saying Comiskey promised him a $10,000 bonus for winning thirty games. However, Eddie learns he only won twenty-nine games, as Comiskey purposely benched him for two weeks. When Comiskey refuses to pay, Eddie tells Chick he will take the gamblers’ money, but wants $20,000 before the first game. With Eddie’s involvement, Swede convinces second pitcher Claude “Lefty” Williams to join the conspiracy. Meanwhile, Burns and Maharg travel to New York, hoping to borrow money from racketeer Arnold Rothstein to pay the White Sox. Although Rothstein is not interested, his associate, Abe Attell, likes the plan. After collecting money owed to Rothstein, Attel loans it to Burns and Maharg. Later, Sport Sullivan visits Rothstein, asking him to bankroll his promised deal with the White Sox. Learning that star pitcher Eddie Cicotte is a part of the scheme, Rothstein agrees. Rothstein provides half of the money in cash, instructing Sullivan to give it to the players in advance, and for Eddie to deliberately hit the first batter he pitches to as a signal that the “fix” is in place. Instead, Sullivan takes half of Rothstein’s money for himself. On the train to Cincinnati, Ohio, for game one of the World Series, Swede talks to “Shoeless” Joe Jackson about purposely losing games. Joe is hesitant, but Swede lies, saying outfielder Oscar “Hap” Felsch and third baseman George “Buck” Weaver are also involved. With Swede’s assurances, Joe agrees. Afterward, Swede and Chick meet with Hap and Buck. Upon learning that Joe is in, Hap agrees, but Buck refuses. In Cincinnati, Abe Attell announces to the players that they will be paid after each of the five out of nine games they lose. Meanwhile, White Sox manager “Kid” Gleason asks Buck about rumors of a fix. Although he opposes the plan, Buck is reluctant to betray his friends and teammates. Meanwhile, sportswriters Hugh Fullerton and Ring Lardner ask about the rumors, but Kid Gleason assures them that the claims are false. Fullerton and Lardner remain suspicious, particularly with Sport Sullivan’s large bet against the favored White Sox. At the start of game one, Eddie hits the first batter with his second pitch, the signal to Rothstein and the gamblers. Throughout the game, Fullerton and Lardner take notes of the glaring errors made by Chick, Swede, and Eddie. After the White Sox lose, the guilty players receive their first payments from Attell. “Lefty” Williams pitches during game two, and Fullerton and Lardner continue taking note of his numerous errors. After the Sox’s defeat in game two, Burns and Maharg meet with Attell, and learn the money guaranteed to the players is tied up in bets. In Chicago for game three, the gamblers all bet on the Cincinnati Redlegs for their third win. However, Kid Gleason replaces the starting pitchers with Dickie Kerr, a rookie pitcher who is not involved with the gamblers. The White Sox win the game, causing the gamblers to lose money. During Game Four, Eddie returns to the pitching mound and makes a number of errors. Eddie’s poor performance and Hap’s missed plays further convince Fullerton and Lardner that the White Sox intend to lose. Lefty pitches again in game five, and although Buck and Joe play their best, Lefty, Hap, Chick and Swede continue to make intentional mistakes, causing a fourth loss. Returning to Cincinnati, the White Sox win game six with Dickie Kerr pitching. Later, Lefty, Hap and Eddie ask why the gamblers have not been paying them. Chick informs them that Attell, Burns, and Maharg lost their money betting on game three, and Sullivan has not been seen. Feeling cheated, Lefty, Hap and Eddie decide to stop deliberately losing, and the White Sox win game seven. With the possibility of the White Sox winning the World Series, Arnold Rothstein orders Sport Sullivan to make sure they lose the next game. To ensure the Redlegs win, Lefty is threatened that his wife, Lyria Williams, will be killed if the Sox win game eight. During the game, Lefty pitches poorly and the Chicago White Sox lose the Series. Based on their observations, Hugh Fullerton and Ring Lardner deduce that five or more White Sox players threw the games. Interviewing several players and Billy Maharg, Fullerton publishes an article accusing Sox players of intentionally losing for profit. Worried about losing his talented players over the so-called “Black Sox” scandal, Charles Comiskey contacts his lawyer, Alfred Austrian, and is advised to make a public statement, promising to punish the guilty player. Comiskey and other team owners decide to appoint popular Chicago judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis to be baseball’s new commissioner. Landis accepts, providing he holds the office for life and has absolute power. As Landis’s appointment is announced, Arnold Rothstein, Sport Sullivan, and Abe Attell flee the country. Later, charges of conspiracy to commit a confidence game during the World Series are brought against Eddie, Joe, Chick, Swede, Hap, Fred, Lefty and Buck. Throughout the trial, Buck maintains his innocence and demands a separate trial, but his pleas are ignored. The jury finds the men not guilty. However, Landis announces the eight are banned from professional baseball, declaring that any player who throws a game, or promises to throw a game, or even sits in a meeting about throwing a game and does not notify the team’s management, will be banned. In 1925 New Jersey, “Buck” Weaver sits in the stands of a minor league baseball game and recognizes “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, playing under the name “Brown.” Overhearing a nearby fan saying that Brown plays like “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Buck says that Joe was best baseball player he ever saw play the game. The fan asks Buck if Brown is “Shoeless” Joe, but Buck protects his former teammate and says no. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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