Fear Strikes Out is a 1957 American biographical sports drama film depicting the life and career of American baseball player Jimmy Piersall. It is based on Piersall's memoir Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story, co-written with Al Hirshberg. The film stars Anthony Perkins as Piersall and Karl Malden as his father, and it was the first directed by Robert Mulligan.

This film is a Paramount Picture and was preceded by a 1956 TV version starring Tab Hunter.[1]

Plot

Based on Piersall's shattering tell-all biography, the film traces Piersall's rise from the sandlots of Waterbury, Connecticut, to the Boston Red Sox professional baseball team. Karl Malden plays his domineering father who pushes him further and further.

Unable to withstand the pressure, Piersall suffers a nervous breakdown and goes to a mental institution. After a long period of therapy, Jimmy realizes that he has excelled in baseball to please his father — not for his own gratification.[1]

Cast

Awards and honors


The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Reception

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote:

Oddly enough, the scenes of baseball, while interesting in this account, are secondary to the scenes of drama between the father and his son. The issues are not whether Piersall will snag those long flies or clout home runs but whether he will have the approval of his old man, sitting there in the stands. The weight of the paternal ambition is the critical factor in this film. And it is felt by the nerve-racked observer to the point where it is recognizable that the young man must go mad. ...

Fortunately, Mr. Perkins plays the young fellow excellently, not only conveying the gathering torment but also actually looking like a ballplayer on the field. And Karl Malden is compelling as the father, combining the ignorant dominance of a bitter man with the occasional tenderness of a parent who genuinely loves his only son. ...Robert Mulligan's direction is vigorous..."[3]

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Erickson, Hal. Rovi "Fear Strikes Out" Synopsis
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External links

Template:Robert Mulligan


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