Thorn: There she is, Myth America

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on September 22, 2015:

At left is an Ebbets Field Flannels replica of the jacket Robert Redford wore when he played Roy Hobbs, the thirty-five-year-old rookie from nowhere, an item which may prompt postmodernists to question what it means to replicate the frankly fake. The 1984 film The Natural has become a litmus test for baseball savants and film critics. Either it was horrible, a comic-book parody of Bernard Malamud’s excellent 1952 novel; or it was grand and mythopoeic, a tour de force by director Barry Levinson that was vastly superior to the book on which it was based. The battle was pitched anew on Facebook yesterday, with some hating the book and loving the film, others the opposite.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one in the world who hated the film,” Tara Krieger wrote. “It just felt incredibly overwrought.”

“One thing that kinda bugged me about the movie,” said Ron Bolton,” was Hobbs did two things at the plate – he either hit a home run or he struck out.”

“If you’re looking for realism,” I replied to my friends, “yes. I like the film as fable.”

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Originally published: September 22, 2015. Last Updated: September 22, 2015.