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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Damn Yankees! (1958)

A middle aged fan (Robert Shafer) of the Washington Senators baseball team sells his soul to Satan (Ray Walston) to become young again (in the form of Tab Hunter) and become the star player of the team and defeat the New York Yankees. He insists on an escape clause however but the Devil makes plots to defeat it with the help of his sexy assistant (Gwen Verdon). Based on the smash Broadway musical (over 1,000 performances), with the exception of Hunter who does nicely, the original Broadway cast reprise their roles. Luckily for us, this means the great dancer Verdon gets her one chance to shine on the big screen, she wouldn't make another film until THE COTTON CLUB 26 years later. Though some of the topical references date the film, it's still an energetic and excellent example of the American musical in its heyday. Directed by George Abbott (who directed the original show) and Stanley Donen with the spirited choreography by Bob Fosse who also appears in the film, partnering Verdon in the Who's Got The Pain? number. With Jean Stapleton, Russ Brown, Shannon Bolin, Rae Allen, Jimmie Komack and Nathaniel Frey.

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