Perkins portrays Jimmy Piersall in this well-done biopic of one of baseball's most colorful characters, who, from boyhood, was relentlessly driven by his father (Malden) to make it in the major leagues. Nothing the talented Jimmy does is good enough for his dad, and, after finally making
the Boston Red Sox, he breaks down, maniacally climbing the backstop after hitting a home run--one of the best-remembered scenes in any sports film. Jimmy is then admitted to Westborough State Hospital, where he gradually recovers under the supervision of Dr. Brown (Williams), eventually returning
to his wife, his repentant father, and the Red Sox lineup.
The physically awkward Perkins may seem an unlikely candidate to portray a professional athlete, however, in a dry run of his performance in PSYCHO, he delivers a powerful portrayal of a young man undergoing tremendous emotional turmoil; in the final analysis, the film's psychological impact far
outweighs how Perkins looks throwing a baseball back into the infield. Based on Piersall's autobiography, this directorial debut for Mulligan also boasts an extremely effective, typically full-volume performance by Malden as Piersall's demanding but loving father.
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