Damn Yankees

Director: George Abbott and Stanley Donen
Year Released: 1958
Rating: 3.0

A middle-aged baseball fan makes a deal with the Devil (Ray Walston) - his soul in exchange for his Washington Senators to beat the great New York Yankees - so Lucifer-in-red-socks changes his body into that of elite athlete "Joe Hardy" (Tab Hunter) and sneaks him into the starting rotation ... when not teasing/taunting him with luscious Lola (Gwen Verdon), who gets what she wants (most of the time). As a straightforward film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, it flows nicely, with Verdon and Walston adding dark humor to their 'villains' and the legendary Mr. Fosse (Verdon's partner in the "Who's Got the Pain" number) choreographing the project nicely (and keeping Mr. Hunter, who was not the most skilled dancer, from looking like a fool). I like how it takes the Al Bundy-living-in-the-past type schlub and fulfills his Wildest Dream ... and yet he never forgets how much he loves his (trusting) wife: it's Capra-corn with songs. Erp!