Tipsheet Reviews
DVD Special Edition

A League of Their Own

Columbia, PG, 128 min. plus supplements, widescreen and full screen, Dolby Digital 4.0, Street: April 20, $24.96; First Run: W, July 1992, $107.5 mil.

Just in time to capitalize on baseball opening-season fervor, a recent sentimental favorite emerges from the bullpen, with a quiver full of fresh fastballs and curves not seen in previous outings. The upshot: It's a triple into left field that had homerun written all over it, but it fell short. The effort is admirable, considering the years that have passed since A League of Their Own was made, but surely there are more impressive bells and whistles that could have been included. By modern box-office smash standards--and in it's day, this was a monster hit--the two-disc offering seems a bit skimpy despite director Penny Marshall's obvious affection for the film. Marshall was decidedly involved in the bonus features and chose the cast members to participate in the commentary track with her. While Lori Petty, Negan Cavanagh and Tracy Reiner (her daughter) make for lively viewing companions, these players are second string compared to the rest of the lineup. Although one can assume they were approached, there's no sign of co-stars Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell, Jon Lovitz and/or Madonna. Top-billed star Geena Davis, Lovitz and O'Donnell show up in interview segments on disc two's Nine Memorable Innings, a nine-part, 45-minute behind-the-scenes documentary produced by Jon Barbour and Gary Khammar of Light Source & Imagery, and Madonna's "This Used to Be My Playground" music video is included, but Hollywood heavyweight Hanks isn't even in the dugout. The segments find the stars waxing eloquently about how arduous the audition process was, not to mention the baseball training that followed (they had to learn how to stop "throwing like a girl"), but the most revealing segments are the later ones, when matters turn sentimental and they talk about the enduring friendships forged while shooting in the summer heat. Supporting player Garry Marshall has the best insight regarding his sister Penny, and even makes fun of her slurry accent, something no actor would dare do. The 15 deleted sequences are substantial and frequently as delightful as anything in the movie, with Marshall handily on screen to describe why they didn't make the cut. The segment begins with a title-card apologizing for the workprint quality of the footage, and although it doesn't shine like the anamorphic transfer of the feature film, it's hardly distracting. --Buzz McClain



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