This absorbing biopic stars Anthony Perkins as Jimmy Piersall, whose talents on the baseball diamond take him to the Major Leagues as a Red Sox outfielder — and whose desire to please his domineering dad lands him in a mental institution. During the 1952 season, Piersall’s dramatic nervous breakdown plays out in front of a nationwide audience. Karl Malden is outstanding as Piersall’s taskmaster father.
In an era in which consistent visual style seems perhaps too uniformly held as the prerequisite of the valorized auteur, one can all too easily understand why Robert Mulligan’s work has failed to evince any passionate critical interest. His films all look so different; for instance, To Kill a Mockingbird , with its black-and-white measured pictorialism; Up the down Staircase , photographed on location with a documentary graininess; The Other , with its heightened Gothic expressionism rather conventional to the horror genre, if not to Mulligan’s previous work; and The Summer of ‘42 , with a pastel prettiness that suffuses each image with the nostalgia of memory. If some would claim this visual eclecticism reflects the lack of a strong personality, others could claim that Mulligan has too much respect for his material to impose arbitrarily upon it some monolithic consistency and instead brings to his subjects the sensibility of a somewhat self-effacing Hollywood craftsman. Yet there are… read more