Angels in the Outfield [1994]

Director: Matthew F. Leonetti, William Dear
Stars: Danny Glover, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Christopher Lloyd, Tony Danza, Brenda Fricker
Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 103 minutes

Pure heaven for baseball-movie fans, this charming 1951 fantasy will even make believers out of jaded younger viewers only familiar with the 1994 special effects-laden remake. A pitch-perfect Paul Douglas stars as "Guffy" McGovern, the brawling manager of the last-place, laughing stock Pittsburgh Pirates. The hated, profanity-spewing McGovern is touched by an angel in answer to an orphan girl's prayers for the hapless team. If he cleans up his act, a roster of celestial all-stars will "help" the Pirates. Angels in the Outfield scores with a winning script, clever touches (McGovern's blue language is suggested by a manipulated soundtrack that makes its sound like he's speaking in tongues), and a roster of most valuable players that includes: Janet Leigh as a household hints reporter who begins to take a personal interest in the lovably unlovable McGovern; the adorable Donna Corcoran as the little girl who can see the angels (who, like Harvey the rabbit, are otherwise left to the imagination); Keenan Wynn as a nasty sportscaster with a grudge against McGovern, a pre-Leave It to Beaver Barbara Billingsley as a hatcheck girl; and in amusing cameos, Joe DiMaggio, Ty Cobb, songwriter Harry Ruby, and then Pirates co-owner Bing Crosby. --Donald Liebenson

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