“One long ball hitter, that’s what we need! I’d sell my soul for one long ball hitter.”
Damn Yankees is a 1958 musical about a middle-aged Washington Senators fan who makes a deal with the devil in order to become a 22-year-old power hitter; making a Faustian bargain to help the basement-dwelling team he loves win the pennant.
I like a good musical, but I could take or leave Damn Yankees.
I mean, it wasn’t without its moments. Most notably, “Who’s Got the Pain” was the first onscreen pairing of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon (they met on preproduction of the Broadway version — Fosse choreographed — which led to their epic and troubled collaboration and marriage). Verdon’s performance with Fosse is great, but the Verdon-led dance number for “Two Lost Souls” is easily my favorite part of the movie.
Culturally, its biggest lasting impact is the song, “Whatever Lola Wants,” and to a much lesser degree, “You’ve Gotta Have Heart.”
One thing I learned working on this post is that there was a Broadway revival in 2008 starring 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski (Jenna) and Cheyenne Jackson (Danny) as Lola and Joe. I wish I’d seen their performances — especially because, unlike Tab Hunter, Jackson is a broadway star who can actually sing and dance.
Next Up: The Battery, a zombie movie about a former pitcher and catcher trying to survive after the apocalypse. It’s available on Prime Video if you want to join in.