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A Documentary film and a Real Cinema Dramatization Essay


Introduction

Natural is a real dramatic baseball movie based on the biography of John Knowles, a renowned baseball player. In order to understand the film well, it is important to have a look at the people who made the film. The film was directed by Barry Levinson and produced by Mark Johnson. It was written by Roger Towne and Phil Dusen berry and stars Roy Hobbs, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close and Kim Basinger. John Knowles character was played by Roy Hobbs.

The music was done by Randy New Man, Edited by Stu Linder and distributed by Tristan Pictures. Natural was released on May 11, 1984 and its running time is 137 minutes.[1] The film was called Natural because the main character Roy Hobbs has a natural baseball talent and the film revolves around his accomplishments and suffering. It was nominated for four academy awards among them first for best supporting actress (Glen Close).[2]

Plot

The plot of the film starts by depicting Roy Hobbs as a child, playing with his father in their family farm. While still young his father dies unexpectedly breaking up under a tree. The tree is later cut into two by lightning and Roy Hobbs makes a baseball bat out of the tree. He scribbles a drawing of lightning bolt and the words wonderboy.

At the age of 19, he is given a trial by Chicago cubs as a pitcher. On his way to the Chicago cubs, his train makes a stop at a carnival. At this point Roy is confronted by Joe Don Baker, the top hitter to strike him. He strikes him in front of many people including a sports writer named Max Mercy (Robert Duvall) who records everything and puts it in the paper the following day.[3] He then gets into the train.

Inside the train, Roy Hobbs is seduced by Harriet Byrd (), an attractive and an evil woman who thinks that Roy is the best baseball player in the world other than Joe Don Baker. The naïve Roy is taken to a hotel room by Harriet Byrd who shoots him and escapes out of the window but luckily he does not die.[4]

After 16 years

The story skips to 16 years later and depicts Roy at age 35. At this age, Roy signs a contract with National league team called the New Yolk Knights to the anger of the team’s gruff manager and co-owner, Pop Fisher ().[5]The team is held up in the last-place and this makes Pop very angry at being burdened with a “middle-aged rockie” in reference to Roy. Pop gets so worked up that he actually stops Roy from taking part in team practice. He goes ahead and threatens to send Roy to the minors.

However after some time Roy is allowed to practice with the team where he displays an unbelievable hitting ability. In his following game, the team’s celebrity player, Bump Bailey (), angers Pop with his constant laziness in the field and Roy is told to pinch hit.

Roy is advised by Pop to knock off the ball which he obeys and makes the team to win. Later Bump Bailey, the team’s star dies while running through the fence after a fly ball and Roy becomes team’s starting right fielder and plays very well becoming the team’s star and also making a fortune for the league.

His success makes Max Mercy, the sports writer have a desire to dig deep into his mysterious background. Roy makes it hard for Max to obtain details. After failing to obtain details about Roy, Max starts to spread false rumors that Wonderboy is a loaded bat. This is however disapproved by the league after weighing and measuring the bat and finding that it meets the requirements.[6]

Judge tries to bribe Roy

Roy is called to a meeting by the principle owner of knights, The Judge (). Earlier on he had been informed by Pop’s assistant, Red () that the Judge had a concern for the team trailing since Pop wanted to sell his share of the team to his co-owner if the team failed to win national league pennant.[7]

To ensure that the team failed, Judge had secretly given a command to his chief scout to put the team with unknown players like Roy. The Judge got worried later that the unpredicted talent would spoil his plans and tried to bribe Roy but Roy refused[8].

The first plan having failed Memo Paris () is sent to seduce and divert attention of Roy. She is introduced to Roy by Mercy, the reporter, after Mercy takes him to diner. Memo seduces Roy and they begin to go out. Within no time Roy begins to get serious with Memo despite Pop’s warning. At one point the Knights go to Wrigley field in Chicago to compete with the cubs and Roy exhibits a dismal performance.[9]

During his playing, he notices a woman fully clad in white, stand up and lit up by sunshine. This in some way makes him put more effort and he scores. Later on he remembers that the mysterious woman in white was his early day’s sweetheart; Iris (). They later arrange a date at a soda shop where they rekindle their love.[10]

Roy visits iris at her apartment and notices a baseball glove. Out of curiosity he inquires whose glove it was. To his shock, Iris informs him that the glove belongs to her 16 year old son. Roy goes ahead to ask the whereabouts of the boy’s father and Iris informs him that he lives in New York.

Roy becomes a bit intrigued and develops an interest in meeting the boy. Lost in the moment Iris reminds Roy that he has a train to catch. Meeting up with Iris revives Roy and he continues to win for Knights. The team takes the first position and is required to play one game in their final three games to win against .[11]

Roy is poisoned

Memo Paris manages to poison Roy through an éclair. Days later, Roy wakes up in a hospital bed and discovers that his team lost their final three games. His doctor informs that his stomach lining had been damaged and could tear apart if he continues to play baseball. Despite this warning Roy creeps out of the hospital to take some few swings but collapses in full view of the judge from his office window.

The Judge later appears to increase his offer to pay him $ 20 000 even though he is very sure Roy can’t play. He refuses and Judge threatens to spoil his image of his shooting which he obtained from Mercy and leaves the money at his bedside.[12]

Roy informs Iris when she visits him how he loves Baseball and he enquires if his son is with her in New York. He asks her if she will attend the game but a nurse enters before she gives an answer. Roy returns the money to the judge and he heads to the locker room where he meets Pop and they start chatting. Pop tells Roy that he was one of the best players he has ever coached and a great hitter.

The game commence with the Knights playing with the Pirates. Roy’s efforts are slowed down by a player introduced into the team by Judge and Roy comes to notice he is the player who had been bribed by Judge. He requests him not to throw the game but he replies with a shrug.[13]

Iris Tells a Secret

Without Roy’s knowledge Iris and her son attend the game. Iris however has a message she wants to pass to Roy. She gives the message to an usher who gives it to Roy. The message explains that Iris and her son are at the game. In addition the message goes on to explain that Roy is the father of Iris’ son.

This message makes Roy to put more effort in his game and although his wonderboy bat breaks into two, he is given another bat where he plays well and the team wins the pennant. The screen fades and then shows a wheat field where Roy is playing with his son and Iris is watching from a far.[14]

Baseball

Baseball is an Emmy Award winning documentary film.

Baseball is an Emmy Award winning documentary film. The film is about playing basketball. It was created by as his ninth documentary film. It was distributed by PBS and co-produced by and written also by . There were many people involved in playing baseball and some of them include, , , , , , n. Baseball was filmed in USA and has 9 episodes. Its running time is 18.5 hours in total and uses archived pictures and interviews for presenting visual.[15]

The actors give voice according to the written scripts and the series are narrated by journalist who was newscaster of NBC news broadcaster between 1970 and 1982. The documentaries are segmented into nine parts called Innings which corresponds to baseballs games played and also corresponds to the time that each game took. There are major themes that come out well in the baseball film like race, labor relations, business and the relationship between baseball and the society. As a T.V series it had 45 million viewers.

A Brief Narration by

Baseball film begins with a brief narration by John Chancellor. He narrates that baseball is played all over, in parks, play grounds, prison yards and farmers field by old men, boys and Millionaires. John adds that it’s a sport that has included and excluded many, since it’s a free game that tolerates cheating and that it has been played for over 200 years.

He also points out that the players come from various backgrounds e.g. College campuses, coal mines, slum cities. For instance he gives an example of a college educated player, Christy Mathewson who was worshipped by millions of school boys as the Christian gentleman.

There was a mill hand who could not write and read (Joe Jackson) could have been one of the greatest celebrities if he could not have given into temptations. A miner’s son (Mickey Mantle) who came from Oklahoma proved himself to be the greatest switch-hitter. The film begins where base ball began, cornfield. It explores many tales of how the game has overcome many struggles to become better with time.

The 9 innings

1st innings start with the origin of base ball. It is an opening of the game and series. It shows baseball evolving from as early as before 20th Century. 2nd Inning includes the formation of American league and its merging with the National league. is discussed in details and the title of the second inning was taken from his many quotes, something resembling a war.[16]

The 3rd Inning majors on Black sox scandal. The fifth Innings is a continuation of baseball recovering from the sox scandal. The title comes from what sports writers called Babe Ruth, a national heirloom. The fifth Inning covers the plight of African league, main players who were not included in the major leagues.

The sixth Innings shows African American participating in all leagues including major leagues led by . The 7th Inning stresses on the big teams located in New York. They include New York Yankees, New York Giants, . This Inning also reveals changes that occur when the teams start locating. The 8th and 9th Innings shows the players forming an alliance, free agency. It ends by concluding that baseball has survived wars, depression and scandals and it will never stop.

Similarities and Differences

Both films, Natural and Baseball are dramatic. They have a beginning, middle and the end using tension and narration that keeps the viewers actively involved. Both scenes, sequences show narrative information about events, people, emotions and point of view. The baseball which is documentary does not include acting of professional actors but Natural film has renowned actors.

Another difference between Natural and baseball is that baseball didn’t invent characters but had to use real people. Audience trust documentaries and baseball didn’t have inclusive of parts of film that were not supposed to be there contradictory to real drama event where the Natural film was added parts to suite it. The Baseball film is from archived history.

Both Baseball and Natural are non-fiction. Natural on one hand shows bits of facts and does not have to be entirely factual and therefore it had dramatic license to change events in order to attract viewers. Baseball on the other hand is a documentary film and has to represent history as archived with no room for changes. Natural was corrupted and displayed some techniques of deception and misinterpretation where the judge continuous to bribe Roy and he refuses.[17]

Cinematic Techniques employed

Baseball film did use the technique of choice of short in that it used close-up to show tension. This was crucial to persuade the audience that they are witnessing a real story. The use of sound technique is employed by both films for audience to hear the reaction of a character. The sound includes heart beat of player’s conveying tension. The sound helped to create atmosphere and mood.[18] In Natural films there is the technique of fade in and fade out of screen.

When starting the film, the screen is black at the beginning and then the images appear brightening. The technique of follow shot is mostly used in Baseball in that it followed the players wherever they played to engage the audience in the game. Both the films used the technique of flashback which is important in real story films; they brought scenes that happened in the past.

Bibliography

Azranger, “IMDb-The Internet Movie Database, (2003). Web.

Loh, Keith, “The Natural” IMDb-The Internet Movie Database, (2003). Web.

Ovguide, “Baseball Video.” Ovguide, (2011). Web.

Schickel, Richard. “The Natural.” Time May (1984): 91.

Simon, Jeff, “Film festival celebrates 25 years since ‘The natural’ was filmed in Buffalo.” , (2010). Web.

Woodham, Jonathan M. Twentieth-Century Design (Oxford History of Art). New York City, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Footnotes

  1. Loh, Keith, “The Natural” IMDb-The Internet Movie Database, (2003).
  2. Simon, Jeff, “Film festival celebrates 25 years since ‘The natural’ was filmed in Buffalo.” BuffaloNews.com, (2010).
  3. Schickel, Richard. “The Natural.” Time May (1984): 91
  4. Schickel, Richard. “The Natural.” Time May (1984): 91
  5. Schickel, Richard. “The Natural.” Time May (1984): 91
  6. ibid
  7. Schickel, Richard. “The Natural.” Time May (1984): 91
  8. Simon, Jeff, “Film festival celebrates 25 years since ‘The natural’ was filmed inBuffalo.” BuffaloNews.com, (2010).
  9. Schickel, Richard. “The Natural.” Time May (1984): 91
  10. Schickel, Richard. “The Natural.” Time May (1984): 91
  11. ibid
  12. Schickel, Richard. “The Natural.” Time May (1984): 91
  13. ibid
  14. Schickel, Richard. “The Natural.” Time May (1984): 91
  15. Ovguide, “Baseball Video.” Ovguide, (2011).
  16. Azranger, “Nine Innings from Ground Zero” IMDb-The Internet Movie Database, (2003).
  17. Schickel, Richard. “The Natural.” Time May (1984): 91
  18. Woodham, Jonathan M. Twentieth-Century Design (Oxford History of Art). New York city, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
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IvyPanda. (2019, July 29). A Documentary film and a Real Cinema Dramatization. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-documentary-film-and-a-real-cinema-dramatization/

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"A Documentary film and a Real Cinema Dramatization." IvyPanda, 29 July 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/a-documentary-film-and-a-real-cinema-dramatization/.

1. IvyPanda. "A Documentary film and a Real Cinema Dramatization." July 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-documentary-film-and-a-real-cinema-dramatization/.


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IvyPanda. "A Documentary film and a Real Cinema Dramatization." July 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-documentary-film-and-a-real-cinema-dramatization/.

References

IvyPanda. 2019. "A Documentary film and a Real Cinema Dramatization." July 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/a-documentary-film-and-a-real-cinema-dramatization/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) 'A Documentary film and a Real Cinema Dramatization'. 29 July.

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