“Miss Verdon has the sort of fine, fresh talent that the screen badly needs these days. But lest she seem to be the whole show, let us hasten to proclaim that there’s a great deal more to Damn Yankees than this wonderful red-headed dame.” (New York Times, 1958)
Based on the 1955 Broadway hit of the same name and featuring an almost identical cast (with Tab Hunter taking over the lead role), this is a baseball-flavored take on the legend of Faust: A long-suffering Washington Senators fan is given the chance to help his team win the pennant in exchange for his soul. Ray Walston is exceptional as the Devil, and Gwen Verdon, his assistant, sells her sexy demoness part. The Oscar-nominated score by Jerry Ross and Richard Adler—including “Heart,” “Two Lost Souls,” and “Whatever Lola Wants”—is electric. And don’t miss Bob Fosse in a cameo with Verdon (“Who’s Got the Pain”). Donen shared his duties with stage director George Abbott, and he also recruited Fosse (who choreographed the Broadway show), to direct the film’s musical and dance numbers.
Presented in 35mm
35mm print courtesy of UNCSA Moving Image Archives