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Mainstream - Kill The Umpire

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Kill The Umpire
William Bendix, Una Merkel, Ray Collins
Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Black and White 1950
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2007
80 minutes

Kill The Umpire, which comes as a two movie DVD with Safe At Home, is an entertaining baseball movie. It stars William Bendix as Bill Johnson, a baseball fanatic who keeps losing jobs because of his inability to stay away from the baseball park. When his wife puts her foot down and his father-in-law finds him a spot in an umpiring school, Bendix, whose favorite expression is kill the umpire, does everything he can to get out of it until he discovers the importance of the role of umpire.

This is farce, slapstick, and physical comedy in a baseball context. Kill The Umpire is fun to watch at first but really hits its stride when Bendix goes to umpire school and becomes an umpire in the Texas Interstate League where the fans take their baseball very, very seriously.

Things come to a head when Bill Two Call Johnson (Bendix) makes a controversial call during an important game and kill the umpire becomes the mantra of the local baseball fans. There ensues a riot, a whole bunch of shenanigans in a sleeper car, and a really great Keystone Cops style chase scene when Two Call Johnson, hearing the call of duty, must get from his hotel to the baseball park alive and preferably in one piece.

This baseball movie DVD is a lot of fun to watch and Kill The Umpire has aged well. Aside from a rather politically incorrect and tokenism moment involving some Native Americans and a scene where a gun is used, this DVD is safe family fare.

The Kill The Umpire print used for this DVD is basically flawless. This movie comes as a double feature baseball DVD with Safe At Home, a movie about a young boy who boasts he knows Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris and then must come through with this lie.

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