With a story created by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, Take Me Out to the Ball Game is an underappreciated gem. As two baseball players who also work the vaudeville circuit during the early 1900s, the pairing of Kelly and Frank Sinatra—after their successful coupling in Anchors Aweigh—is again delightful. Kelly’s more outgoing and aggressive Eddie and Sinatra’s shy Dennis not only hark back to Anchors Aweigh, but also foreshadow a similar character dynamic in On the Town. After their baseball team is given new ownership in the form of Esther Williams (who is only briefly seen in a pool), the two men consequently fall in love with her. Added to the mix are a group of gangsters led by Edward Arnold who have their own agenda when it comes to the baseball team. Take Me Out to the Ball Game is a quintessential all-American musical comedy, which at the hands of director Busby Berkeley and screenwriters Harry Tugend and George Wells, sparkles and shines in all the right ways.
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