(vt Angels and the Pirates UK). US movie (1952). MGM. Pr Clarence Brown. Dir Brown. Spfx Peter Ballbusch, A Arnold Gillespie, Warren Newcombe. Screenplay Richard Conlin, Dorothy Kingsley, George Wells. Starring Ty Cobb (himself), Donna Corcoran (Bridget White), Joe DiMaggio (himself), Paul Douglas (Aloysius "Guffy" McGovern), Janet Leigh (Jennifer Paige). 99 mins. B/w.
McGovern, aggressive and foulmouthed, manages the Pittsburgh Pirates, a losing Baseball team. One night he is confronted by an invisible Angel, who tells him that, if he will simply reform, Heaven will chip in on his side with some Miracles. He obeys. Promptly the Pirates start to win games. 8-year-old orphan Bridget is the only person who can see that, during the Pirates' crucial innings, a celestial baseball team – a team of angels – is standing behind and inspiring the mortal players. Paige, a cub reporter assigned to cover the Pirates' season for the Pittsburgh Messenger, initially loathes McGovern but in due course, predictably, falls in love with him, the couple adopting Bridget. Before that, in scenes reminiscent of Miracle on 34th Street (1947), McGovern is hauled up before a judge to examine the case for the existence or otherwise of angels.
In terms of the history of the fantasy Cinema, this is one of the later examples of the feelgood-fantasy strand that included movies like It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Miracle on 34th Street. It was remade under the original title in 1994 by Disney. [JG]