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Angels in the Outfield (1951)

Angels in the Outfield (1951) starring Paul Douglas, Janet Leigh

In Angels in the Outfield, Paul Douglas, stars with Janet Leigh, as the hot-tempered Pittsburgh Pirates manager.  His hard-luck team goes on a winning streak thanks to some heavenly intervention.

Synopsis of Angels in the Outfield

The losing baseball team doesn’t have a prayer …   Until a little orphan girl begins praying for them, and the gruff, vulgar manager of the team begins to get heavenly “coaching” on how to change himself.  And a well-meaning female reporter turns the little girl into a media sensation.  And the manager finds himself championing the young orphan.

Review of Angels in the Outfield

Angels in the Outfield (1951) starring Paul Douglas, Janet Leigh - The roughest guy you ever met until an angel said 'Hello'!Angels in the Outfield is a sweet, enjoyable comedy. It has Paul Douglas as the gruff manager of the Pittsburg Pirates, whom the angels encourage to change over the course of the movie, with the aid of Janet Leigh as the female reporter, and Donna Corcoran as the young orphan. Douglas becomes protective of the young girl over time, as she becomes the center of a media circus. The tension comes to a head, the day before the Pirates are about to be in the World Series when Douglas is facing an inquisition of sorts.  Dealing with his mental condition. After all, he speaks with angels.  Isn’t that crazy in the modern world?

Keenan Wynn, as a sports reporter, is one of the people pushing against Douglas.  Partially due to his past interactions with him — and doesn’t believe his transformation is real.

If there’s a problem with the story, is that it’s Hollywood’s version of Heaven — where dead baseball players become angels. From the Biblical worldview, that would actually be a demotion. Whether you let this bother your enjoyment of the movie is up to you.

Editorial review of Angels in the Outfield courtesy of Amazon.cocm

Pure heaven for baseball-movie fans, this charming 1951 fantasy will even make believers out of jaded younger viewers only familiar with the 1994 special effects-laden remake. A pitch-perfect Paul Douglas stars as “Guffy” McGovern, the brawling manager of the last-place, laughing stock Pittsburgh Pirates. The hated, profanity-spewing McGovern is touched by an angel in answer to an orphan girl’s prayers for the hapless team. If he cleans up his act, a roster of celestial all-stars will “help” the Pirates.

Angels in the Outfield scores with a winning script, clever touches (McGovern’s blue language is suggested by a manipulated soundtrack that makes its sound like he’s speaking in tongues), and a roster of most valuable players that includes: Janet Leigh as a household hints reporter who begins to take a personal interest in the lovably unlovable McGovern; the adorable Donna Corcoran as the little girl who can see the angels (who, like Harvey the rabbit, are otherwise left to the imagination); Keenan Wynn as a nasty sportscaster with a grudge against McGovern, a pre-Leave It to Beaver Barbara Billingsley as a hatcheck girl; and in amusing cameos, Joe DiMaggio, Ty Cobb, songwriter Harry Ruby, and then Pirates co-owner Bing Crosby. –Donald Liebenson