Gene Kelly & Frank Sinatra

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a 1949 Technicolor musical film starring Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, and Gene Kelly. The title and nominal theme is taken from the unofficial anthem of American baseball, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. The movie was released in the United Kingdom as Everybody’s Cheering.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a period piece set in 1908. The plot revolves around a fictional American League team, the Wolves, and two of its players, Eddie O’Brien (Gene Kelly) and Dennis Ryan (Frank Sinatra), who are also part-time vaudevillians.

The ball club’s status quo is turned on its head when the team winds up under new ownership, and the distress this causes the team is only increased when the new owner is revealed to be a woman, K.C. (Katherine Catherine) Higgins (Esther Williams). Eventually, Dennis falls for her, and then Eddie as well, while Dennis is the object of the affections of an ardent fan, Shirley Delwyn (Betty Garrett). And all must contend with a number of gangsters looking to win a big bet by impairing Eddie’s play and getting him kicked off the team.

Esther Williams, a star in swimming-themed musicals, did not enjoy her experience filming with star, story-writer and choreographer Gene Kelly. In her autobiography, she describes her time on the film as “pure misery”, claiming that Kelly and Stanley Donen treated her with contempt and went out of their way to make jokes at her expense.

 Williams did, however, form a strong bond with Frank Sinatra. Judy Garland was originally slated to star, but was replaced because of substance abuse problems. Similarly, Sinatra’s role of Dennis Ryan was said to have originally been intended for professional baseball manager (and former player) Leo Durocher

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Gene Kelly & Frank Sinatra

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