Art of Film: 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game'

What better time than mid-summer to view a free movie aboutAmerica's pastime and a couple of melodious Boys of Summer? Mix in the Million Dollar Mermaid as the baseball team's owner, and you've definitely got a winning line-up. "Take Me out to the Ball Game" – starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Esther Williams – will be shown at 6 p.m. July 28 in the Lincoln Parish Library Meeting Room. It's part of the Art of Film series, a collaboration of the library and the North Central Louisiana Arts Council.

Set in the early 1900s, this musical comedy revolves around the fictional American League team, the Wolves, and two of its players, Eddie O'Brien (Kelly) and Dennis Ryan (Sinatra). The team's success depends in particular on the double-play action of O'Brien to Ryan to Nat Goldberg, but two of the players (guess which ones!) actually prefer their part-time, off-season vaudeville work over baseball.

Williams enters the mix as the team's new owner, K.C. Higgins, and when Summer's Boys learn that the "K.C." stands for Katherine Catherine, the equation, of course, becomes even more interesting. Director Busby Berkeley couldn't miss an opportunity – even in a baseball movie – for Williams to don a bathing suit, so she croons "Take Me out to the Ball Game" while swimming in a hotel pool. Toss in a few gangsters who try to get the team to throw one of its games for a big gambling payoff, and you're got the premise for a movie that raked in more than $4 million in 1949.

Termed "one of MGM's musical comedy gems" by an reviewer, this film offers 93 fast-paced minutes that "just fly by with snappy dialogue, foot-tapping musical numbers, some good plot twists and great interactions between the characters."

Upcoming films in the Art of Film series include:

  • Aug. 25 – "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold"
  • Sept. 22 –  "Sita Sings the Blues"
  • Oct. 27 – "The Awful Truth"
  • Nov.  10 – "Charade" and
  • Dec. 8 – "Jane Eyre."

Begun in 2007, the Art of Film is a free monthly film series that features notable movie classics in all genres. For more information or to make suggestions for the series, call Leigh Anne Chambers at 255-1450. In addition to the film, other offerings will include popcorn, treats and trivia.