Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday's Film Adaption: The Natural by Bernard Malamud

The Natural, Bernard Malamud’s first novel, published in 1952, is also the first—and some would say still the best—novel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud, usually appreciated for his unerring portrayals of postwar Jewish life, took on very different material—the story of a superbly gifted “natural” at play in the fields of the old daylight baseball era—and invested it with the hardscrabble poetry, at once grand and altogether believable, that runs through all his best work. Four decades later, Alfred Kazin’s comment still holds true: “Malamud has done something which—now that he has done it!—looks as if we have been waiting for it all our lives. He has really raised the whole passion and craziness and fanaticism of baseball as a popular spectacle to its ordained place in mythology.”

A once promising young baseball player returns to the mainstage fifteen years later in an attempt to restart his career after battling the demons of his past. But, it is the choices he makes with the women in his life that could lead to his downfall again.

Release dates: May 11, 1984
Running time: 137 minutes

Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs
Robert Duvall as Max Mercy
Glenn Close as Iris Gaines
Kim Basinger as Memo Paris
Wilford Brimley as Pop Fisher
Barbara Hershey as Harriet Bird
Robert Prosky as The Judge
Richard Farnsworth as Red Blow
Joe Don Baker as "The Whammer"
Darren McGavin as Gus Sands
Michael Madsen as Bartholomew "Bump" Bailey
John Finnegan as Sam Simpson
Alan Fudge as Ed Hobbs
Ken Grassano as Al Fowler
Mike Starr as Boone
Mickey Treanor as Doc Dizzy
Jon Van Ness as John Olsen
Anthony J. Ferrara as Coach Wilson
George Wilkosz as Bobby Savoy
Paul Sullivan Jr. as Young Roy
Rachel Hall as Young Iris

Academy Awards, USA 1985
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Glenn Close 
Best Cinematography: Caleb Deschanel 
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration: Mel Bourne, Angelo P. Graham, Bruce Weintraub 
Best Music, Original Score: Randy Newman 

Golden Globes, USA 1985
Golden Globe
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Kim Basinger 

With baseball season in full swing, I thought it was fitting to spotlight one of my favorite baseball movies.  I don't know as I would call it a classic but it's well written, expertly acted, and a great story.


Author Bio:
Bernard Malamud was an author of novels and short stories. Along with Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, he was one of the great American Jewish authors of the 20th century. His baseball novel, The Natural, was adapted into a 1984 film starring Robert Redford. His 1966 novel The Fixer, about antisemitism in Tsarist Russia, won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.


B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  WIKI

B&N  /  IMDB  /  WIKI  /  TCM

No comments:

Post a Comment