The Batter’s Eye: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Poster for Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I’m not sure how this movie is as boring as it is.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949, directed by Busby Berkeley) stars Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Esther Williams. It’s a musical about baseball! It should work but it does not.

The story is fine. Eddie (Kelly) and Dennis (Sinatra) are star baseball players who also do vaudeville on the side. Their team, the Wolves, is inherited by a woman named K.C. Higgins (Williams). Romance and comedy ensue.

Our leads are all charming. Kelly and Sinatra play off each other well. Kelly’s Eddie is an outgoing womanizer and Sinatra’s Dennis is more reserved and slightly nerdy. Williams’ K.C. also holds her own with these two.

While the direction is credited to Berkeley, Kelly took over for him, and the unevenness shows. The musical numbers, while fun, aren’t ones that necessarily drive the plot. They come across like filler in a movie that’s only about 90 minutes.

The costumes and set design are colorful and fun. The baseball action is surprisingly good and there are some hilarious bits of innuendo.

Still, I’ve watched this movie twice now and I lost interest in it both times before I made it to the end. The initial setup is great but the entire movie just rests on that. Sometimes charm and star power isn’t enough to carry an entire movie no matter how much I want it to.