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Elmer the Great

(1933 b 72')

En: 6 Ed: 5

Based on the play by Ring Lardner and George M. Cohan, a small-town baseball phenomenon betrays a gambler and wins the World Series.

Rumors spread in Gentryville that someone from Chicago is coming to get Elmer. The Cubs have bought the big eater, and Nellie (Patricia Ellis) takes McWade to Elmer's house. Elmer (Joe E. Brown) says he is the greatest batter; but he won't see McWade. Nellie asks Elmer if he is scared, and he tells her he is always thinking about her. So she leaves the contract and departs; Elmer signs the contract.

At spring training Elmer stops sleeping and starts hitting homeruns. Elmer is introduced to Evelyn (Claire Dodd) and talks on the radio to his mother. The management holds Nellie's letters to Elmer to keep him from going to her. When she comes to visit, Nellie sees Elmer being kissed by Evelyn for each homerun. Nellie won't see Elmer; so he and Healy (Frank McHugh) go out drinking (sweets). Elmer gambles with a coin, and they tell him they don't use money but chips. Without realizing it, Elmer loses $5,000 while Healy wins $350. Although he tells them he thought they were playing for fun, Elmer signs a credit slip. A gambler offers to forget it and pay him another $5,000 if the Cubs will lose the World Series. Elmer punches the gambler and is thrown in jail.

The great Elmer Kane has disappeared. Healy tells Nellie Elmer won't leave the jail. His manager Walker (Preston Foster) and others try to take him out; but Elmer locks himself in. Nellie pays the I. O. U. for Elmer, and the gambler gives Elmer $5,000 to pay her back; Elmer signs a paper and promises not to play. Nellie explains to Elmer why the manager had her not write to him. Elmer decides to play in the last game of the World Series; but when the gambler shows the paper to the owner, Walker has to replace him. Eventually Walker persuades the owner to let him put in Elmer. He gets hit in the head and gets caught in a pickle on the bases. In the rain he loses the ball in the mud as the Yankees score two more runs. With the bases loaded, the pitcher and catcher play a hidden-ball trick; but finally Elmer hits a homerun to win the game. In the final scene he talks on the radio again and then kisses Nellie.

This baseball fantasy is made interesting by the eccentric character of the confident Elmer, who, when he is not hitting homeruns, is usually eating or sleeping. The crooked gambler is double-crossed, and Elmer finally gets his girl. Fans of baseball and comedy may enjoy the diversion.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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