Ralph Potts reviews the 25th anniversary of this all-American classic comedy that transcends generation lines.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures – 1992
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 128 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French, German, Japanese, Spanish Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
Starring: Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Lori Petty, David Strathairn, Jon Lovitz, Garry Marshall, Rosie O’Donnell, Tracy Reiner, Bitty Schram, Anne Ramsey
Directed by: Penny Marshall
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel
Region Code: A,B,C
Release Date: April 18, 2017
I reviewed A League of Their Own when it was initially released on Blu-ray back in 2012. I will include my comments from that review along with a new rating for the bonus features.
A League of Their Own needs little introduction and is a classic based on the true story of the pioneering women who blazed the trail, both on the field and off, for generations of athletes to follow. It’s an effecting and delightful sports tale, which taught America “there’s no crying in baseball”.
Washed up pro ball player Jimmy Dugan is brought in by owner Walter Harvey as a name to help bring fans to the park to watch the newly formed All American Girls Professional Baseball League. Jimmy reluctantly agrees and assumes his role simply as a figurehead with no interest in managerial duties spending most of his time sleeping off the booze he consumed the night before.
Sisters Kit Keller and Dottie Hinson are recruited by baseball scout Ernie Capadino and brought to Chicago to try out for one of the four teams that will comprise the new league. Kit and Dottie are close but sibling rivalry, most due to Kit feeling she has always been in Dottie’s shadow, tends to drive a wedge between them. Dottie is a natural ballplayer with standout abilities with both the bat and glove while Kit is more of a scrapper that tends to struggle at the plate but makes up for it with a good pitching arm.
After the try outs Dottie and Kit become “Rockford Peaches” along with 14 other girls including Mae, Doris, Betty, Evelyn, Marla, Ellen Sue and Alice. With no leadership from Jimmy, Dottie takes on the role of running the team. It isn’t long before Jimmy notices that, girls or not, there is plenty of talent and potential among them and he begins to actively manage the team. What Jimmy soon discovers is that ballplayers don’t have to wear pants to have heart. Similarly the players find that the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League brings out the best in them through a shared experience that will ultimately form a lasting bond.
The inspiration for A League of Their Own are the real women of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, who in 1943 during World War II kept America’s favorite pastime not only alive but invigorated it. I tend to enjoy films based upon actual people and/or events and this is one of my all time favorites. The screenplay is by Academy Award® nominees Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel and is a perfect blend of humor, heart and melodrama. Supremely quotable with memorable characters and laugh out loud moments, director Penny Marshall (from what I have read) captures the essence of what the experience must have been like for the players while attaching a contemporary edge that seems transcendent. The cinematography is terrific. Among my favorites is the sequence in the final act when Kit gets the big hit and rounds the bases.
I like the choices made for he cast. I am not much of a Rosie O’Donnell or Madonna fan but together they work well here. Tom Hanks owns Jimmy and has many of the film’s best lines, the most obvious of which is the tagline for this review. This is probably my favorite Geena Davis film as I think this character plays to her strengths. Her chemistry with both Hanks and Lori Petty enlivens the proceedings. The remaining cast is made up of a variety of actors, including David Strathairn, Garry Marshall, Eddie Jones and Jon Lovitz all of whom contribute. If you look closely you’ll see a few familiar faces in the background, most notably Tea Leoni, Eddie Mekka, David L. Lander and Rance Howard. That’s in addition to the wonderful ensemble of unknown actors that portray members of the Rockford Peaches, my favorite being Bitty “There’s no crying in baseball” Schram.
A League of Their Own is timeless, rousing, inspirational and fun. For me it is a film that I never tire of as I find myself laughing, cheering and quoting the same parts. I am thrilled to add it to my Blu-ray collection.
The rating is for language.
AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
A League of Their Own comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.
Note: This is the same AVC encode and DTS-HD MA soundtrack included with the previous Blu-ray Release.
I have owned this film in its various home video release incarnations. I am happy to report that this presentation looks very good by comparison. Colors are vivid with subtle tonal variation and clean rendering. The range of colors is not particularly extensive but the earth tones which are its primary source look great. Facial textures and complexions are nicely delineated with warmth and lifelike tonality. Images are well detailed over the course of the film. This isn’t going to exhibit the type of razor sharp high gloss definition that we see from films today however the level of detail is complimentary. There are minor fluctuations in sharpness and detail that appear related to the original photography. Film grain is intact, and appears well preserved throughout the presentation. Blacks are stable with consistent contrast levels that draw out plenty of visible detail during light and dark segments. I found little to complain about and thoroughly enjoyed this high definition rendering from Sony.
The DTS-HD Master Audio mix presents this soundtrack’s elements quite naturally. There is lots of spoken dialog in the film but it contains a variety of sounds and music that benefit from the high resolution afforded by lossless sound. The recording sounds a little dated but refined and dynamically supported. There are moments where there is no dialog and the only auditory used to propel the story, are the music and/or a series of sounds. They are cleanly reproduced and free from strident highs or an edgy midrange. The front soundstage is narrow but opens up nicely during several sequences. There isn’t much in the way of active surround sound or deep low frequency effects but the application of supportive rear channel ambience and upper level bass adds an enriching element that enhances the presentation.
- *New* The Enduring Legacy of A League of Their Own – 12 minute featurette
- Director & Cast commentary
- 15 deleted scenes with optional introduction by Penny Marshall
- “This used to be my playground” music video by Madonna
- Nine memorable innings – 50 minute multipart documentary
- Pre game
- Inning # 1 – First pitch
- Inning # 2 – The starting lineup
- Inning # 3 – Training camp
- Inning # 4 – Suit up
- Inning # 5 – Play ball
- Inning # 6 – Player by position: The Director
- Inning # 7 – The 7th inning stretch
- Inning # 8 – Great players/great stories
- Inning # 9 – Cooperstown
- Post game
- Digital HD Copy
A League of Their Own has been a personal favorite of mine since I first saw it, and I suspect that I am not alone in that regard. This 25th anniversary edition from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment offers gratifying high definition audio/video, legacy supplements, and the addition of a new featurette that is worth checking out. Diehard fans will probably want to pick this up, but casual viewers, that already own it on Blu-ray, may be content with what they have. I am pleased to add this to my Blu-ray collection.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies – 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components – CP-CP102 cooling package