Angels in the Outfield | Chicago Reader

Angels in the Outfield

The abrasive manager (Danny Glover) of the California Angels is humanized by an orphan who becomes the team's official mascot—a foster child with a pipeline to a flock of angels who end the team's losing streak by invisibly assisting them on the playing field. Back in 1951, when this story was first filmed—under Clarence Brown's direction, with Paul Douglas as the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates—what saved the potentially treacly material, if memory serves, was the good-natured sincerity. The same can be said for this version, directed by William Dear from a script by Holly Goldberg Sloan. Narrative suspense is admittedly kept to a minimum, and baseball purists may be offended by the role played by divine intervention. But as a neo-Dickensian Disney exercise in old-fashioned sentiment this has a certain charm and a sense of human decency that tended to win me over. The cast—Glover, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Christopher Lloyd, Tony Danza, Brenda Fricker, Milton Davis Jr., Ben Johnson, and Jay O. Sanders—is better than average too.

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