Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, May 12, 2019

‘The Natural’ at 35: Here’s how Robert Redford hit that explosive home run

Thirty-five years ago, Robert Redford stepped into the batter’s box in a Buffalo stadium, and smashed a home run that immediately entered the Sports Movie Hall of Fame. Held aloft by composer Randy Newman’s soaring score, and director Barry Levinson’s literally explosive imagery, the climactic scene of The Natural is on instant replay in the minds of moviegoers who saw it in theaters on May 11, 1984 or in its three-decade afterlife as a home entertainment and cable staple.

The Natural had a regular place in my family’s VCR in the mid-’80s, and I’d rewind the final scene multiple times in order to watch Redford’s blast shatter the stadium lights, and then take his victory lap through a shower of sparks. I wasn’t what you’d call a die-hard baseball fan, but I loved Richard Donner’s Superman, and that home run is a comic book moment on par with Christopher Reeve reversing the Earth’s rotation. “It’s pretty spectacular,” agrees the film’s producer, Mark Johnson. “And, needless to say, it does not exist in the Bernard Malamud book.”

Yeah, about that book. It’s no secret that if you were keeping score of a movie’s fidelity to its source material, The Natural would finish towards the back the pack. Published in 1952, Malamud’s first novel took its inspiration from various bits of baseball lore, including the shooting of ’40s-era first baseman Eddie Waitkus and the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919. The film version follows the broad strokes of the book charting the journey of Roy Hobbs (Redford), a gifted ballplayer whose career is derailed after he takes a bullet in the gut fired by a female fan.

What, no references to the Fisher King?

QLE Posted: May 12, 2019 at 03:55 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: anniversaries, home run, the natural

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 12, 2019 at 07:21 AM (#5841167)
The book Pops Fisher suffers from bad eczema, while the Wilford Brimley's Pops is healthy (not even any diabeetus mentioned in the script). There's still the dry field, the losing streak, and the broken water fountain, but Pops without oozing wounds is no longer the Fisher King.

(Also movie Roy's no longer Perceval, because he asks the right question, as it were, and so attains the Grail.)
   2. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 12, 2019 at 11:16 AM (#5841178)
I once wrote a black parody of Field of Dreams that I guarantee is a hundred times better than that mawky original. It wound up in Comiskey Park in 1933, with a dewy-eyed kid asking Jose Canseco for his autograph, and you can only imagine how sentimental that was.
   3. AndrewJ Posted: May 12, 2019 at 05:36 PM (#5841252)
Wilford Brimley was 49 years old when he appeared in The Natural.
   4. Adam Starblind Posted: May 12, 2019 at 08:34 PM (#5841313)
Wilford Brimley was 49 years old when he appeared in The Natural.


After 9/11 they changed his official age to 51.
   5. Rally Posted: May 13, 2019 at 09:48 AM (#5841430)
Brimley was/is only 2 years older than his rookie right fielder.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Adam M
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogTop 50 Trade Candidates For The 2019 MLB Trade Deadline - MLB Trade Rumors
(7 - 5:12pm, Jun 19)
Last: Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day

NewsblogJordan Yamamoto dominates Cardinals | MLB.com
(8 - 5:09pm, Jun 19)
Last: Perry

NewsblogOMNICHATTER could possibly support human life, for June 19, 2019
(43 - 5:07pm, Jun 19)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

NewsblogAfter All-Star career, Huston Street is ‘chasing something else’ in retirement – The Athletic
(9 - 5:06pm, Jun 19)
Last: Perry

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - Baldrick Reports Live
(379 - 4:59pm, Jun 19)
Last: AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-19-2019
(62 - 4:48pm, Jun 19)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT - NBA thread (Playoffs through off-season)
(4158 - 4:32pm, Jun 19)
Last: jmurph

Gonfalon CubsThat was fun
(267 - 4:17pm, Jun 19)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

NewsblogKYW Newsradio: Kenney, Wolf Join Campaign to Elect Dick Allen to the Hall of Fame
(160 - 3:13pm, Jun 19)
Last: Rally

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (June 2019)
(885 - 1:22pm, Jun 19)
Last: Davo cant be eatin thirty hot dogs every day

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1917 Discussion
(10 - 12:42pm, Jun 19)
Last: MrC.

NewsblogMLB calls umpire union statement about Manny Machado discipline “inappropriate” – HardballTalk
(12 - 11:50am, Jun 19)
Last: Cris E

NewsblogI ride or dye with OMNICHATTER!, for June 18, 2019
(89 - 11:49am, Jun 19)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogAngel Hernandez’s Lawsuit Against MLB Just Got Really Interesting | FanGraphs Baseball
(18 - 11:47am, Jun 19)
Last: Javy Joan Baez (chris h.)

NewsblogPadres, Rockies set new modern era record with 92 combined runs in four-game series
(35 - 11:43am, Jun 19)
Last: Fernigal McGunnigle

Page rendered in 0.2533 seconds
46 querie(s) executed