Popcorn and Crackerjack

That the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League came into existence only because of wartime marketability says everything about ‘40s era sexist attitudes. Hardened social structure even turned women against this league – not being “proper” and all – and while a footnote in greater baseball history, A League of Their Own let it become a pop culture statement.

It’s an idyllic film. A little manipulative, a little phony too. Geena Davis and Lori Petty play cow milking sisters, those images raw Americana, leading to an inevitable, cliché finish. In execution, A League of Their Own follows formula, sparking a ‘90s trend for nostalgic sports stories like The Sandlot and an Angels in the Outfield remake. Montages, player dissension, and bottom of the ninth tensions build on a sports movie skeleton, reskinned with the clever feminine touch.

… so sweet-natured and nice, A League of Their Own seems to come more from Disney than Columbia/Sony

The league thought up and paid for by men, scouts initially dismiss potential players deemed unattractive. Uniforms come in skirt form – only. Male fans taunt the women. Demeaning headlines reference doing dishes. In front of director Penny Marshall’s camera, A League of Their Own takes on a definite fire and a rebellious kick, if never going so far as to belie the era’s sentimental allure. An interaction with black players (who were disallowed from playing) goes unspoken, sanitizing the truth.

Focused on the Rockford Peaches, personalities keep the routine narrative moving. Davis’ tough woman attitude, Madonna’s sexually freed persona, the quiet Megan Cavanagh; it’s a standard clash of styles and places, a melting pot representing the country in a coast-to-coast way. Then Tom Hanks, a washed out, drunken former pro keeping this squad together. A little, anyway.

What League of Their Own does well is remain broadly satisfying, everyone likable, and a few softened villains easily dispatched – one of them an obnoxious kid. Journeys come less from conquering people than things: Alcoholism, family squabbles, money troubles, and defeatism. It’s so sweet-natured and nice, A League of Their Own seems to come more from Disney than Columbia/Sony.

Primarily fictionalized, the realities shift to a background role, at least until the end credits when living members reunite for game. The limited bias felt by the teams quickly pass, their challenges simply touched up (the league didn’t want for attendance, nor was men’s baseball totally shutdown during the war). The good of A League of Their Own is bringing this history to wide audiences, and with a touch of luck, becoming an ingrained pop piece that’s memorably quoted.

Video

Arguably the outlier in Sony’s 4K Columbia Classics box set (this is the only included film without an Oscar nom or win), that doesn’t result in a lesser transfer. Full 4K scanning results in marvelously crisp images, not the richest in detail because of the cinematography, yet still gorgeous. Stadium long shots draw out crowds, dirt, and grass. Precise textures in uniform patches or period-correct fashion appear at this resolution.

Richer color blossoms greenery, and excels when emboldening primaries. Costumes gain intensity, with flesh tones afforded equal accuracy.

Encoding works on the grain, cleanly resolving the organic, filmic look. HDR adds bonus contrast, making games shimmer under afternoon sun. Reflections from chrome buses nail their peak, countered by pinpoint, precise black levels when needed (say, the bar sequence). Overall bright aesthetics make A League of Their Own a worthy candidate for the new tech.

Audio

Game days sound fantastic under command of this Atmos remix. PA announcers, organ music, and crowds fill the soundstage. Even the score breaks out into the heights and rears. Smaller touches show through general ambiance, and listen as Marla bats balls around the gym – her blasts ricochet around bleachers, tracking front to back.

Partway through, a fireworks display brings slight low-end energy. Occasionally, the soundtrack does too. This isn’t a heavy mix though by way of the source material.

Extras

Pop in the included Blu-ray for these bonuses. Penny Marshall joins Lori Petty, Tracy Reiner, and Megan Cavanagh on commentary. A fun retrospective titled The Enduring Legacy runs 12-minutes. Thirty-seven minutes of deleted scenes (with a Penny Marshall intro) come from numerous sources. Three episodes of the spin-off TV series (out of six filmed) run over an hour together. Might as well include the whole series at this point, but still. A nearly one hour making of from the DVD era still holds relevance. Madonna’s tie-in music video is up last.

A League of Their Own
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

A fun (if heavily fictionalized) take on a WWII-era women’s baseball team, A League of Their Own carries enough sanitized charm to give it a pass.

Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 47 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: