A League of Their Own appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Despite a few minor lapses, this was usually a solid transfer.
Sharpness mostly seemed fine. Occasional wide shots came across as a little ill-defined, but those examples occurred infrequently. Instead, most of the flick was nicely detailed and concise.
I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes weren’t a factor. I didn’t sense any digital noise reduction, and print flaws never marred the presentation.
Colors seemed solid, as despite the period setting, the film kept the hues natural, and they consistently looked vivid and dynamic. The tones were nicely rich and seemed quite distinctive.
Blacks were deep and firm, and most low-light shots came across well. The mild softness made this a “B”, but I still felt satisfied with the image.
The movie provided a serviceable DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack in which the front channels offered a decent sense of atmosphere. Music showed good stereo imaging, and the track came to life in a gentle way when necessary.
The ballgames provided a nice feeling of environment, and louder scenes like the dance at the gin joint also brought us fair involvement. The track lacked great scope and could have used some stronger surround ambience, as the rear speakers rarely did more than support music. A couple of scenes used them a little more actively, but don’t expect much from the back channels.
Audio quality worked well. Speech seemed natural and concise, without notable edginess or other concerns.
Effects appeared accurate and clean, as they lacked distortion or other concerns, and music was full and rich. This wasn’t a dazzling auditory presentation, but it was adequate for the film.
How did this Blu-ray compare to the last DVD from 2004? Audio was richer and more involving, as the DVD included no surround information – literally, as it opted for a 3.1 presentation that eliminated the back speakers.
Visuals were tighter, cleaner and more dynamic. League has had a spotty history on home video, and this Blu-ray provides a good version.
The Blu-ray replicates most of the last DVD’s extras, and we launch with an audio commentary from director Penny Marshall plus actors Lori Petty, Megan Cavanagh and Tracy Reiner. All four sit together for their running, screen-specific track. While not a terrific piece, this discussion seems generally informative and entertaining.
Not surprisingly, Marshall dominates as the quartet addresses topics connected to the movie. Among other things, they go over training for the actors, elements shot but not used, Marshall’s directorial style, casting, and dealing with various logistical challenges.
The three actors mostly toss in anecdotes from the set, many of which deal with Madonna. At times, we get some generic happy talk, and Marshall often tends to just tell us the names of participants. Nonetheless, the conversation moves briskly and offers a mostly fun look at the movie.
We find a lot of that cut material Marshall mentioned in the package’s 15 deleted scenes. We can watch these with or without introductions from Marshall. With the intros on, the entire set of snippets runs a whopping 36 minutes, 56 seconds.
Some excellent material appears here, as we find a mix of extensions to existing scenes plus many that don’t exist at all in the final film. Many of them are quite funny, and we get segments that also elaborate on the sexual tension between Jimmy and Dottie.
We find out the real reason Dottie cried after Betty’s husband got killed and see many other nice moments. It’s a fine collection of clips.
Marshall’s introductions mostly just set up what we’re going to see. Sometimes she gives us specific reasons for the deletions, though she implies the majority got the boot due to time reasons. The introductions don’t add a lot, but they’re short, and they’re informative enough to merit their use.
The disc’s other major extra presents a documentary called Nine Memorable Innings. It should come as no surprise that the program splits into nine chapters plus “pre-game” and “post-game”; via the “Play All” option, it runs 52 minutes and 27 seconds.
“Innings” includes notes from director Penny Marshall, writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, and actors Lori Petty, Tracy Reiner, Geena Davis, Rosie O’Donnell, Garry Marshall, Tom Hanks (from 1992), Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn, and Madonna (from 1992). The program goes through a number of subjects.
We learn about the films background and research, its path to the screen, casting, training, costume issues, shooting the baseball sequences and other notes from the set, Marshall’s approach and personality, anecdotes about the various actors, working with the older actors, and general reflections.
The tone seems fairly thin and fluffy, but a reasonable amount of good information appears. The mini-chapters go through the material fairly efficiently and it all goes down painlessly. I’d prefer less happy talk, but this remains a decent documentary.
Next we get the music video for Madonna’s “This Used to Be My Playground”. The song’s not exactly Maddy’s crowning achievement, but for a sappy ballad, it’s not bad.
The video’s also decent but not better, as it presents lip-synch clips from Madonna as part of a photo book. It’s a moderately clever execution of a standard format. It also tosses in some movie clips just like almost every other “music video for a song from a film” ever made.
Does the Blu-ray drop any extras from the last DVD? Yup – it loses filmographies and a trailer. Those aren’t fatal losses, but it’s too bad the trailer doesn’t reappear here.
How can you resist a movie in which a character autographs a baseball with "Avoid the clap - Jimmy Dugan"? I can’t. A League of Their Own presents a terrific film that works for a wide variety of audiences. The Blu-ray delivers good picture and audio along with a fairly satisfying package of bonus materials. This is a charming movie that holds up well after 25 years.
To rate this film, visit the original review of A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN