A League of Their Own (20th Anniversary Edition)
Most gays over 30 adore the 1992 Penny Marshall film "A League of Their Own" - not only does it star Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell, two of our heroes, but it’s also a multi-kleenex biopic of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a tribute to girl power in the heyday of World War II. A commercial and critical success, it’s been unavailable on Blu-ray until this week - say what? And if you’ve been waiting for this gem to make the transition, at least you won’t be disappointed in your ability to enjoy the higher resolution of Blu-ray. If you’re hoping for new features, however, too bad.
If you’ve not seen the film, pick it up for sure. The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League stepped into the baseball gap left when the boys went off to war in 1943. In the film, sports moguls Walter Harvey (Garry Marshall) and Ira Lowenstein (David Strathairn) conscript Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) to return from his alcohol-incited retirement to coach the Rockford Peaches, counting among his charges Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis), Kit Keller (Lori Petty), Mae Mordabito (Madonna) and Doris Murphy (Rosie O’Donnell). Together, they follow a stylish if formulaic progression of sports-related triumphs for the team, the league, and the eviction of the notion that women are only good for doing laundry and dishes.
Marshall took few risks with the film, but it’s a total charmer whose montage sequences, orchestrated to a pounding jazz score by Hans Zimmer, are nearly as memorable as the film’s most famous line, "There’s no crying in baseball." And the transformation to Blu-ray, if uninspiring in its colors and crispness, nonetheless represents a clean copy of the original film. It’s an enjoyable experience.
If you’ve never seen the DVD extras, they’re here for your amusement as well. Of particular interest are the deleted scenes, some of which include plot variations (such as a scene in which Dugan and Hinson mack it on the ballfield) - and all of which are introduced by Penny Marshall via her traditional unceremonious growl. A documentary of the making of the film from years ago is included as well, but it’s hardly titillating stuff given that the interviews with Hanks and Madonna were executed pre-’92 on the set.