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When It Was a Game: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
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When It Was a Game The Complete Collection (BD)
This HBO documentary is based on a highly original idea: tell the story of baseball from the Great Depression era through the late 1950s using footage from home-movie cameras shot by fans and players. The result is a marvelous look at baseball in America as seen from the ground--the culture of stadiums, the ritual of afternoon games, the spiritually sustaining rivalries. Among the truly unexpected sights is color footage of the 1938 World Series, not only from inside the stadium walls but from the street as traffic cops, crowds, and vehicles amassed. It also covers World War II's impact on the game, and, of course, the heroes, often caught in relaxed, unselfconscious moments.
Arguably more defined and even more lyrical than its predecessor, When It Was a Game 2 moves from a general celebration of baseball culture in America to a specific focus on various facets of the game's history, including the special relationship between game announcers and fans and the farm-team system during the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. Brooklyn's assimilation of the Dodgers into their community identity is covered quite winningly as is the heartbreak of the team's desertion to California. Last, the film takes us on a tour of some of the game's legends and presents a touching tribute to the extraordinary Babe Ruth. --Tom Keogh
When It Was a Game 3 focuses on the 1960s, a time of change for all of America. Through sharp, incredibly clear color footage of players and fans, the film shows how Major League Baseball slowly but surely evolved from pure sport to moneymaking entertainment. Covering the mighty Yankees, the western expansion of both leagues, the increasing inclusion of black players, and the rise of free agency and increased salaries, the film shows the growth of baseball from adolescence to adulthood. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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For fans who like their baseball heroic, "When It Was A Game" brings their heroes to full-color life.
Appropriate music and reverent narration add to the historic but vibrant qualities of the works. "When It Was A Game" was eye-catching when it debuted, and so popular that it spawned a sequel that was more or less more of the same. The third volume may be the most interesting of all (especially if you're old enough to remember watching baseball from the 1960s on), but it also adds the historical context that the innovative National League completely dominated the old boy network of the American League because of their willingness to sign Black players like Willie Mays and Hank Aaron and Latinos like Roberto Clemente. The NL won 19 out of 20 All-Star Games starting in 1962, and this little documentary doesn't mind saying that it was the narrow-mindedness of the American League that allowed Morgan, Stargell, Banks, Gibson, Marichal and McCovey to join Mays, Clemente and Aaron on teams that regularly trounced the other, whiter, league.
Like Ken Burns' "Baseball", this set is a video love-song to baseball.
However, in that "idyllic" youth, there were obviously some things that I missed as well. All three of the DVDs, but especially #III, provide some outstanding social commentary about the people and the times, The players were essentially serfs for the owners and the racial injustices and inequities were horrific. In many ways, I'm not sure that things today are much better, but they certainly are different.
This set is a wonderful remembrance of a time that, for many of us, was almost mythical in its enjoyment. In addition it provides a healthy dose of reality for those of us who, even today, might remain somewhat jaded by the past. I heartily recommend it to baseball fans of all generations!