The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, June 7 (7:30 p.m.)
The Winning Team (Warner Bros., 1952)
Ronald Reagan stars as major league pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander (1887–1950) in this fictionalized biographical film directed by Lewis Seiler. Alexander struggled with illness and alcoholism, and was best known for leading the St. Louis Cardinals to victory in the 1926 World Series over a powerhouse New York Yankees team that included Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. The film focuses on Alexander’s relationship with his supportive wife (Doris Day) whose “teamwork” helps Alexander through problems with alcohol and a lack of confidence. Known at the time primarily for musicals, Day only had one song in “The Winning Team,” but turned in a strong dramatic performance. Reagan trained with major league pitchers for the role. They taught him “the difference between throwing from the mound and just throwing.” 98 min. 35 mm archival print.
Friday, June 8 (7:30 p.m.)
A League of Their Own (Columbia, 1992)
Director Penny Marshall used the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (1943-1954) as a backdrop for this heartfelt comedy-drama. “A League of Their Own,” featuring an ensemble cast that includes Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Lori Petty, Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell, not only illuminates this fascinating, under-reported aspect of American sports history, but also effectively examines women’s changing roles during wartime. Rich with period detail and equally complex performances –especially Davis as a team ringer and Hanks as the down-on-his-luck coach– Marshall and her company delivered an enjoyably nostalgic film about women’s choices and solidarity during World War II that was both funny and feminist. “A League of Their Own” was added to the National Film Registry in 1992. Rated PG, 128 min. 35 mm archival print.
Saturday, June 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Field of Dreams (Universal, 1989)
Iowa farmer Kevin Costner one day hears a voice telling him to turn a small corner of his land into a baseball diamond: “If you build it, he will come.” “He” appears to be legendary baseball great Shoeless Joe Jackson and his 1919 Chicago White Sox team. Although ostensibly about the great American pastime, baseball here serves as a metaphor for more profound issues. Leonard Maltin lauded “Field of Dreams” as “a story of redemption and faith, in the tradition of the best Hollywood fantasies with moments of pure magic.” Also featuring James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta and Burt Lancaster, in his final screen appearance, the family drama received three Academy Award nominations: Best Film, Adapted Screenplay (Phil Alden Robinson who also directed), and Original Score (James Horner). It was added to the National Film Registry in 2017. Rated PG, 107 min. 35 mm archival print.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.