USA Today - 04/13/1990
"...Bob Fosse, who choreographed, has one great on-screen number with Verdon..."
Entertainment Weekly - 10/22/2004
"[T]here are still reasons to revisit this musty old treasure..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Step up to the plate for Damn Yankees, the rousing movie of the 1,019-performance Broadway grand-slam that imports nearly all the original New York lineup, including Tony Award-winning stars Gwen Verdon as luscious vamp Lola and Ray Walston as her slyly Satanic boss Applegate. Hollywood's Tab Hunter suits up as potential lost soul and Washington Senators slugger Joe Hardy, revealing a freewheeling fun side unseen in previous roles. The Pajama Game duo of Richard Adler and Jerry Ross serve up an out-of-the-park home-run score, including "Whatever Lola Wants" and "Heart." Choreographer Bob Fosse provides all the right moves, and he joins Verdon on screen in performing "Who's Got the Pain?" No pain here, just pure pleasure.
An exciting mix of rough-and-tumble baseball with lively song-and-dance numbers makes this musical a home run. When middle-aged Joe, number one Washington Senators fan, gets a deal from the devil and is transformed into a hotshot rookie baseball player, the Senators have their first real chance to beat the Yankees and capture the pennant. But the devil's secret agenda is to pull the rug out from under the fans' feet just before the Senators win, hopefully sparking massive depression. Joe's yearning for his wife throws a wrench into the devil's devious works, encouraging the devil to call in Lola, the best vamp in his staff. Joe and Lola warily dance around each other, he fascinated by her physical charms, she mesmerized by his honest goodness. With so much pressure on him, can Joe hold it together long enough to beat those damn Yankees, win the pennant for the Senators...and keep his soul'
Description by Warner Home Video:
Starring the original Broadway cast, this is the musical adaptation of the novel "The Year The Yankees Won The Pennant" with a score by Adler & Ross ("The Pajama Game") and choreography by Bob Fosse. Washington Senators fan Joe Boyd sells his soul to the devil, Mr. Applegate, to become the greatest baseball player ever and to help his favorite team win the pennant. However, doing this means Joe must leave his beloved wife, Meg, and it's not easy on him. Whenever he poses as a boarder to get closer to her, Applegate must enlist the help of his favorite seductive helper, Lola. But not even Lola's charms can woo Joe. Soon, she finds herself falling for him, but pledges to be his friend. Joe and Applegate make a contract allowing him out of the deal at a certain time, but the devil makes sure that Joe doesn't get out. When Lola finds out about this, she slips him four sleeping pills so he can sleep through the game the next day, allowing Joe to help the Senators win the pennant. However, Satan awakes, and after turning Lola into an old hag, turns Joe back into an old man on the field. Joe returns to his wife, ignoring the temptuous offers of Applegate for the World Series & Lola.
Joe, the Washington Senator's middle-aged number one fan, agrees to let the devil fulfill his dreams by turning him into a young, handsome slugger who could help the Senators finally capture the pennant. As the Senators climb higher in the standings, questions arise about the mysterious home-run hitter from nowhere while Joe finds his fidelity tested by the devil-employed seductress, Lola. Put-upon wives of baseball fans, the Senators themselves, and the devilishly lovely Lola belt out the film's hit songs, including "Heart," "Whatever Lola Wants," and "Two Lost Souls," while strutting their stuff to Bob Fosse's marvelous choreography.
Essential Cinema |
Music Video |
DAMN YANKEES ran for three very successful years on Broadway in its original incarnation (most of the Broadway cast was used in the film), which was followed up by a successful revival in the late 1990s.
The film's memorable "Whatever Lola Wants" mambo number is danced by star Gwen Verdon and the film's choreographer, Bob Fosse, who were married at the time. Fosse continued to do stage and screen choreography but also went on to win the 1972 Best Director Academy Award for CABARET and to direct his own autobiographical film ALL THAT JAZZ in 1979.