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Saturday, 13 October 2007

The Ballplayer and the Bandit (1912) Francis Ford

It seems that every baseball film has to include the star winning the championship, even when they're made in 1912, they're only 10 minutes long and the single pitch of the championship we see is shot on a field. The star of the show is Harry Burns, played by the star of many a film at the time, Harold Lockwood, who I've only seen opposite Mary Pickford in Tess of the Storm Country. He's pretty rare to see because he died in the 1918 flu pandemic, and he does seem pretty natural on the screen as far back as this.

Anyway, Harry may be the star pitcher at college but Uncle Jim can't continue paying his tuition fees so he has to head west and become a paymaster. He soon gets into a fight, looking not unlike Brendan Fraser, all over a girl of course, who unfortunately goes uncredited. Being the paymaster, he gets to carry bags of cash across country which brings him to the attention of Red Dan, the bandit. Luckily he's just been sent the baseball that won him that championship game and of course he knows how to use it.

The other name of note here is Francis Ford, who directs and appears in one of the roles, though which one I have no clue. He's the brother of John Ford, widely acclaimed as one of the greatest directors in history, especially when shooting in the west, and it was Francis who got him into the industry. This is 1912 so there's not a lot of startling direction going on but his work is perfectly fine here. I just wish I knew who the girl was.

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