Angels in the Outfield (1951)

99 mins | Comedy-drama | 14 September 1951

Director:

Clarence Brown

Producer:

Clarence Brown

Cinematographer:

Paul C. Vogel

Editor:

Robert J. Kern

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Edward Carfagno

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

The film's working titles were Angels and the Pirates and The Angels and the Pirates . The film included the following written prologue: "Through the kind cooperation of the Pittsburgh 'Pirates' we have used the team and its ball park to tell our story. But we do not depict any real characters or actual events. This could be any baseball team, in any league, in any town in America." In the opening cast credits, Donna Corcoran's name appears last, but in the end credits, she is listed fourth. The film is intermittently narrated by Janet Leigh as "Jennifer Paige."
       Like their namesakes in the film, the real Pittsburgh Pirates had not won a National League pennant since 1927; their next pennant victory was in 1960, when they went on to win the World Series against the New York Yankees. HR news items and M-G-M press releases contained the following information on the film: Richard Conlin was the pen name of Jesuit priest Fr. Grady [first name undetermined], who turned over the proceeds from the sale of his original story to his church. Branch Rickey, then vice-president and general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and producer-director Clarence Brown negotiated to have the picture shot primarily on location in Pittsburgh, PA, where the film's world premiere was held. Clark Gable was originally cast in the lead role and Sheila James was tested for "Bridget White." Angels in the Outfield marked the screen debut of Corcoran, whose father was an M-G-M maintenance department employee.
       Wallace Ford was sought for an unpsecified role but was not in the film. Jonathan Cott, Bob Simpson, ... More Less

The film's working titles were Angels and the Pirates and The Angels and the Pirates . The film included the following written prologue: "Through the kind cooperation of the Pittsburgh 'Pirates' we have used the team and its ball park to tell our story. But we do not depict any real characters or actual events. This could be any baseball team, in any league, in any town in America." In the opening cast credits, Donna Corcoran's name appears last, but in the end credits, she is listed fourth. The film is intermittently narrated by Janet Leigh as "Jennifer Paige."
       Like their namesakes in the film, the real Pittsburgh Pirates had not won a National League pennant since 1927; their next pennant victory was in 1960, when they went on to win the World Series against the New York Yankees. HR news items and M-G-M press releases contained the following information on the film: Richard Conlin was the pen name of Jesuit priest Fr. Grady [first name undetermined], who turned over the proceeds from the sale of his original story to his church. Branch Rickey, then vice-president and general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and producer-director Clarence Brown negotiated to have the picture shot primarily on location in Pittsburgh, PA, where the film's world premiere was held. Clark Gable was originally cast in the lead role and Sheila James was tested for "Bridget White." Angels in the Outfield marked the screen debut of Corcoran, whose father was an M-G-M maintenance department employee.
       Wallace Ford was sought for an unpsecified role but was not in the film. Jonathan Cott, Bob Simpson, Bob DeLauer and baseball players Babe Herman and Lee Handley were cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The extensive location filming in Pittsburgh, PA included shots of Pittsburgh streets and Forbes Field, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Additional baseball sequences were filmed at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. Cameo appearances were made by baseball greats Joe Di Maggio and Ty Cobb, songwriter Harry Ruby and actor-singer Bing Crosby, who at that time was a part-owner of the team. The guest stars commented on whether or not angels were helping the Pirates. Some baseball sequences in the film featured players from the Cincinnati Reds, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies baseball teams.
       Leigh and Corcoran recreated their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on 6 Apr 1953, but Douglas' role was taken over by George Murphy. The story was remade by The Walt Disney Company in 1994, directed by William Dear and starring Danny Glover and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. That film featured the California Angels baseball team and was set in Anaheim, CA. A 1997, football-themed sequel to the Disney film, entitled Angels in the Endzone , was released as a movie for television. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Sep 1951.
---
Daily Variety
27 Aug 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
27 Aug 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jan 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Feb 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Feb 51
p. 3, 13
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 51
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 51
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 51
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 51
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Apr 51
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 51
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Apr 51
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 51
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
11 May 51
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 51
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 51
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Aug 51
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 51
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Sep 51
p. 997.
New York Times
18 Oct 51
p. 32.
Variety
29 Aug 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
MUSIC
SOUND
Rec supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Mont seq
MAKEUP
Hair styles des
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Tech adv
Tech adv
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Angels and the Pirates
Release Date:
14 September 1951
Premiere Information:
Pittsburgh, PA opening: 7 September 1951
Production Date:
late March--early May 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 August 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1159
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
99
Length(in feet):
8,886
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15350
SYNOPSIS

In Pittsburgh, household hints reporter Jennifer Paige is assigned an article on the Pittsburgh Pirates from "the women's angle." Jennifer knows nothing about baseball, but soon learns that the Pirates are in a long losing streak. When two sports reporters goad her into interviewing Guffy McGovern, the team's ill-tempered manager, she is shocked to overhear the bad language he uses berating the team and writes a scathing article blaming him for the slump. The article is so successful that her editor keeps her on as a sports reporter, and she decides to find out more about the tempermental McGovern. One evening, when she approaches him in his favorite restaurant, he says he does not care what people write about him, despite a long-standing feud with Fred Bayles, the caustic former Pirates announcer, who now works for the New York Giants. McGovern slugs Bayles in the restaurant men's room, thus antagonizing him further. One night, after a particularly brutal loss in Boston, McGovern chasitises his players, especially aging pitcher Saul Hellman, a former friend. He then goes out to the diamond and is startled to hear a voice yell "shut up." The voice says he is an angel sent by Gabriel, who is answering someone's prayers. He tells McGovern that if he refrains from swearing, slugging and anger he will win some ball games, maybe even a pennant. To diffuse McGovern's skepticism, the voice tells him to look for a miracle the next day in the third inning. McGovern is convinced when Rube Ronson, ordinarily a terrible player, makes a great catch, then a ball hit by one of the Pirates temporarily disappears and they win ... +


In Pittsburgh, household hints reporter Jennifer Paige is assigned an article on the Pittsburgh Pirates from "the women's angle." Jennifer knows nothing about baseball, but soon learns that the Pirates are in a long losing streak. When two sports reporters goad her into interviewing Guffy McGovern, the team's ill-tempered manager, she is shocked to overhear the bad language he uses berating the team and writes a scathing article blaming him for the slump. The article is so successful that her editor keeps her on as a sports reporter, and she decides to find out more about the tempermental McGovern. One evening, when she approaches him in his favorite restaurant, he says he does not care what people write about him, despite a long-standing feud with Fred Bayles, the caustic former Pirates announcer, who now works for the New York Giants. McGovern slugs Bayles in the restaurant men's room, thus antagonizing him further. One night, after a particularly brutal loss in Boston, McGovern chasitises his players, especially aging pitcher Saul Hellman, a former friend. He then goes out to the diamond and is startled to hear a voice yell "shut up." The voice says he is an angel sent by Gabriel, who is answering someone's prayers. He tells McGovern that if he refrains from swearing, slugging and anger he will win some ball games, maybe even a pennant. To diffuse McGovern's skepticism, the voice tells him to look for a miracle the next day in the third inning. McGovern is convinced when Rube Ronson, ordinarily a terrible player, makes a great catch, then a ball hit by one of the Pirates temporarily disappears and they win the game. The team wins their next ten games and McGovern seems transformed, but when he starts to swear in the eleventh game, they lose. That night, the angel says he and his "boys," angelic former players, will help the Pirates when they are needed, but most of the time they will be on their own. During one game, Bridget White, a little girl from St. Gabriel's orphanage, excitedly tells her baseball-loving Mother Superior, Sr. Edwitha, that she sees angels behind each of the Pirates. Sr. Edwitha merely thinks that the girl has had too much sun, but when Jennifer hears about the incident, she writes about it in a column. After McGovern reads the story, he goes to the orphanage to talk to Bridget. He believes her story and is touched when she says that she has been praying for him to the angel Gabriel. That afternoon the game is rained out, and Jennifer goes to McGovern's apartment to apologize for her column, which is the talk of Pittsburgh. The next day, she offers to take Bridget to the ball game and keep her out of the sun so she can write a new article explaining that the heat made Bridget see things. Soon realizing that McGovern has a soft spot for Bridget, Jennifer begins to spend more time with him and brings Bridget to his apartment for his birthday dinner. Jennifer cleans up the apartment and makes a homey meal, but a kitchen mishap ruins the food and the three go to a restaurant. A drunken Bayles is at another table, and despite McGovern's best efforts, Bayles creates a scene and slugs McGovern. That night, McGovern asks Sr. Edwitha about adoption. She is sympathetic, but tells him that the courts usually prefer married couples to single people. The next day, after he is hit in the head with a baseball, a stunned McGovern jovially tells reporters that he talks to angels every day. Bayles accuses him of being "emotionally unstable" and does a televised interview with a Boston groundskeeper who observed McGovern's behavior on the deserted ballfield weeks before. McGovern becomes a laughing stock and even the players are concerned, except for Hellman, who defends his old friend. The night before McGovern must attend a hearing on his worthiness to continue with the Pirates, he talks to the angel and is shaken to learn that the cellestial team will soon be signing up Hellman. The hearing brings up two main points: are there angels, and can you talk to them? A pschyiatrist dismisses angels as superstition, but McGovern's expert witnesses, a minister, a priest and a rabbi, affirm their existence. Just as the baseball commissioner is about to rule, Sr. Edwitha brings Bridget in to testify, at the girl's insistence. When Bayles then makes a crack about McGovern's recent filing of intent to adopt Bridget, McGovern slugs him and a melée ensues. A lightning crack interrupts the brawl, and as a feather floats down, the commissioner dismisses the case. On the way to the ballpark, the angel tells McGovern that the punch cancelled their deal and now he is on his own. At the start of the game, McGovern selects Hellman to pitch, over the protests of the fans; despite Hellman's exhaustion, he pitches a winning game, and the Pirates win the pennant. That night, McGovern, Jennifer and Bridget, who will soon be a family, walk happily out of the ballpark, thinking of the great ball players who might be playing on the heavenly champs team. +

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

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