Action / Comedy / Musical / Romance / Sport
Action / Comedy / Musical / Romance / Sport
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Film adaptation of the George Abbott Broadway musical about a Washington Senators fan who makes a pact with the Devil to help his baseball team win the league pennant. —Stewart M. Clamen.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
Aug 15, 2021 at 04:49 PM
grade Movie Reviews
Still great - half a century later.
"Damn Yankees" is old-fashioned entertainment, a bit too talky and literal-minded, but great songs and great dancing never get old. It's worth plodding through the more mundane aspects of this film to relish the classic numbers. "Who's Got The Pain?" has nothing whatsoever to do with the plot, but it proves beyond question that Gwen Verdon is the prime interpreter of the Fosse dance style. "Whatever Lola Wants" is actually rather tame in comparison. The highlight is the smoky, seductive duet "Two Lost Souls," where Verdon lets loose with the greatest of ease. The surprise here is Tab Hunter, who holds his own and handles all the Fosse moves just fine. Jean Stapleton's Sister Miller is an early rehearsal for Edith Bunker. I personally prefer the other George Abbott/Stanley Donen collaboration "The Pajama Game," which is livelier. See them both.
Could Anyone Move Like Gwen Verdon?
The superb Gwen Verdon sings and dances and mugs through this very good adaptation of the smash Broadway musical. Verdon is a cross between Shirley MacLaine and Carol Burnett with a dash of Carol Haney (another Bob Fosse protégé) tossed in. She's a total delight and one of the best dancers EVER! Here she plays Lola, the temptress used by the devil (Ray Walston) to lure Joe Hardy (Tab Hunter) from going back to his wife and breaking his satanic deal in which middle-aged Joe becomes a 22-year-old baseball star and catapults the Washington Senators to 1st place.Tab Hunter replaces Stephen Douglass from the Broadway show. The rest of the cast recreates their parts for the movie. Verdon, Walston, and Russ Brown (the manager) all won Tony awards. Hunter seems rather stiff and uncomfortable through much of the film (though he looks great) but that's the part of Joe.... Hunter is, however, just terrific in the "Two Lost Souls" number with Verdon. He sings, dances (not too bad) and seems to be having a ball. Verdon is just astounding in this number and laughs all the way thru it. Great song.Verdon is also a showstopper in "Whatever Lola Wants" and "A Little Brains, a Little Talent." It seems these songs were written for her and no one else can do them the way she does. Verdon, like Ethel Merman or Carold Channing, was a total original. The voice is slightly nasal; the inflection is odd. But it works. And her dancing is totally awesome.Ray Walston seems to have been typecast in weirdo roles after Damn Yankees and My Favorite Martian. He was a better actor than these roles allowed him to show. Russ Brown is solid as the manager, Jean Stapleton plays the friend (and sings), Rae Allen is Gloria (the reporter), Shannon Bolin is the wife, Jimmie Komack is the goofy ballplayer, Nathaniel Frey is Smokey, Bob Fosse has a cameo in "Who's Got the Pain," and Robert Shafer plays old Joe.Good songs by the same team that did The Pajama Game. Many of the songs were hits of the later 50s. My only beef is that most of the songs are truncated (I had the Broadway soundtrack) and at least one "I Thought About the Game" is used only as background music. Verdon's "A Little Brains, a Little Talent" is cut in half as is Bolin's "Six Months Out of Every Year." Certainly worth a look to see Broadway superstar Gwen Verdon in her prime and Tab Hunter at his hunkiest.
Who's Got The Pain?... Certainly not me after watching this!
I bought this movie not knowing what to expect. The only things I knew were that I LOVED Bob Fosse's choreography from films I had seen previously (Sweet Charity, Cabaret) and I loved to hear Gwen Verdon sing (Sweet Charity soundtrack). This movie was in no way, shape or form a waste of my 14 dollars and 99 cents! Ray Walston (reprising his Broadway role) is delightfully evil as the Devil himself (cleverly disgusing himself as a "Mr. Applegate") who has a warped mind and twisted sense of humor, which is evident in his song "The Good Ol' Days." Tab Hunter is superb as Joe Hardy (or "Shoeless Joe From Hannibal Mo."), the man who sells his soul to become the best long hitter there is, and help his favorite team, the Washington Senators, win the pennant and beating the "damn Yankees." To me, the real star here though, is Gwen Verdon as the seductress, Lola. Not only can this woman act wonderfully, but she has a beautiful singing voice (with a throaty, grainy yet girlish quality) and she is an absolutely FANTASTIC dancer (she's the living embodiment of Fosse's work)! She is the most wonderful dancer/singer/actress ever to grace the Broadway stage and films... it's such a shame they didn't let her play Charity in 1969's Sweet Charity (though Shirley MacLaine did do a good job in the role). She has absolutely become my hero, role model, and favorite actress of all time. Go Gwen! Go Damn Yankees!
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