Theme Thursday: Swing (and Clock)   4 comments

I missed last Thursday (clock), and I’m late this week.  Apologies to the other TT bloggers.

In 1952 a man named Bernard Malamud wrote a book about a baseball player.  The book was adapted in 1984 and made into a movie.  Hold off on the links!

I’ve read the book, and seen the movie, and this is one of those cases where a movie adaptation has a pretty major departure from the book that foundationally changes the message you get when you walk away from the art itself.  Some critics of the movie really don’t like the difference; the message in the book is certainly more complex and darker than what you get from watching the movie.

However, I think this is one of those times when the two products are of equal merit.  The movie is obviously over-the-top “feel good”; but it’s designed for a completely different audience than the book, so I don’t think of this as a detraction.  It’s just different.

Have you guessed yet how this ties into the theme for this week?

Almost at the very end of the movie is the scene that marks the departure from the novel.  In the book, Hobbs throws the game, throws away the payoff as a gesture, ruins his career, and breaks down on the last pages.  In the movie, this happens:

… and then the movie wraps up with sweetness and light.  It’s a fluffy ending, absolutely… but so’s the ending of “Rudy”.

There’s two swings in this clip, the swing that breaks Wonder Boy (the first bat), and the swing that brings on the stirring part of the Randy Newman soundtrack.  I leave it to the reader to decide which is more significant, in the frame of the movie.

[edited to add]

And here’s a handy clip germane to last week’s Theme Thursday, almost as if I planned it this way:

My favorite part in this scene is the old man, giving the hand sign after the hit.  I don’t know who that extra was, or if the guy was a professional actor, but he stole that scene.

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Posted June 12, 2009 by padraic2112 in movies, Theme Thursday

4 responses to “Theme Thursday: Swing (and Clock)

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  1. As soon as I saw the name Bernard Malamud, I knew what was coming.

    There was a scene in the film where they show an uncut sheet of baseball cards featuring Redford’s character. (The back, which usually has a player’s stats, was blank.) Someone got ahold of that prop sheet and cut it into individual cards. I own one.

  2. Nice combo of the two themes. I remember reading the book (it was after I had seen the film) and being surprised at the difference in the endings.

  3. I think that I had heard somewhere that Robert Redford did not want to have an ending like in the book and so they had to change it. But that was a long time ago and after all it was Robert Redford. The movie probably did better with it ending like it did.

    I see what you mean about the old man stealing the scene. That was also a great clock post.

    Thank you for posting those clips.

    God bless.

  4. Aww gotta love a happy ending . . .I’d be heartbroken if I’d read the book and he’d left on a low. I thought with movies, they sometimes re-edit the movie after audience previews depending on the response. And you’re a cheat doing 2-in-1 but it works! Cheers 🙂

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