Eight Men Out


2h 1988

Brief Synopsis

Gamblers tempt members of the Chicago White Sox to throw the World Series.

Film Details

Also Known As
coulisses de l'exploit
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Drama
Historical
Sports
Release Date
1988
Distribution Company
Orion Pictures
Location
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h

Synopsis

Story of the how the Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series.

Crew

Cyd Adams

Unit Manager

Gina R. Alfano

Sound Editor

Joey Alvarez

Grip

David Alan Anderson

Carpenter

Steve Apicella

Video Assist/Playback

Steve Arras

Electrician

Eliot Asinof

Book As Source Material

Chris Athy

Carpenter

Jeanne Atkin

Sound Editor

Clayton Austin

Carpenter

Sharon Ballin

Other

Bill Ballou

Construction Coordinator

C C Barnes

Assistant Director

Eve Battaglia

Casting Associate

Beth Bernstein

Production Assistant

Dan Bishop

Art Director

Beth Anne Bowen

Production Assistant

Barbara Boyle

Executive Producer

Kelly Breidenbach

Other

Linda Brenick

Other

Barry L Brewer

Carpenter

Martin Brody

Music Arranger

Claudia Brown

Assistant

Doug Brown

Driver

David Brownlow

Sound Mixer

Glenn Bucy

Carpenter

Mark Burson

Carpenter

Jeff Butcher

Assistant Set Dresser

Nora Chavooshian

Production Designer

Bonnie Clevering

Hair

Terry Coffey

Scenic Artist

Gigi Coker

Makeup

Joseph T Conway

Other

Sandi Cook

Scenic Artist

Kirk Corwin

Property Master

Marko Costanzo

Foley Artist

Henry Creamer

Song

John Curtis

Driver

Mary Cybulski

Camera

Mary Cybulski

Special Effects

Mason Daring

Song

Mason Daring

Music

Mark Shane Davis

Key Grip

Doug Deebe

Production Assistant

Ged Dickersin

Production Assistant

Peter Dircks

Dresser

Lex Du Pont

Assistant Camera Operator

Jamie Duncan

Scenic Artist

Scott Durban

Location Coordinator

Fleet Eakland

Transportation Coordinator

Nelson Elwell

Grip

Elizabeth Feldbauer

Wardrobe Assistant

Mary Feldbauer Jansen

Post-Production Supervisor

Cynthia Flynt

Costume Designer

Carrie Frazier

Casting

Dianna Freas

Other

Adam Freeman

Production Assistant

Maryann Garvin

Other

Don Gibbin

Assistant Art Director

Shani Ginsberg

Casting

Michael Golub

Music

Julie Gorchov

Sound Editor

Julie Gorchov

Wardrobe Assistant

Vincer Gratzer

Researcher

Sarah Green

Assistant

Ric Gruber

Carpenter

Ted Haigh

Scenic Artist

Tom Haney

Scenic Artist

Lisa Harper

Grip

Leigh Harris

Song Performer

Todd Hatfield

Scenic Artist

Bart Heimburger

Transportation Co-Captain

Robert Hein

Sound Editor

Shari Himes

Craft Service

Carole Hughes

On-Set Dresser

Brian Hulse

Production Assistant

John Jackson

Other

Michael Jacobi

Adr Editor

Gregory Jacobs

Production Assistant

Kristin Jelstrup

Production Assistant

Catherine Jones

Other

Daniel Lee Jumer

Carpenter

Georgia Kacandes

Production Assistant

Janet Kalas

Scenic Artist

Alice Katz

Assistant Director

Avy Kaufman

Casting

John William Kellette

Song

Jann Kenbrovin

Song

Frank Kern

Sound Editor

Lori Kornspun

Sound Editor

Nancy Kriegel

Assistant

Michael Lamothe

Carpenter

Stephen Lang

Dolly Grip

Turner Layton

Song

Tim Lee

Dresser

Joseph Litsch

Dresser

Elizabeth Lohr

Assistant

Susan Lyall

Assistant

Ira R Manhoff

Sound Editor

Gary Marcus

Assistant Director

Paul Marcus

Location Manager

Marina Marit

Production Assistant

Bob Marshak

Photography

Tony Martinez

Sound Editor

June Mccarty

Production Assistant

Heather Mcgrath

Production Assistant

Sylvia Menno

Sound Editor

Chris Miller

Dresser

Tim Miller

Props

Kathlene Mobley

Wardrobe Assistant

Rebecca Montagne

Dresser

Raoul Moore

Carpenter

Daniel Edward Morgan

Driver

Laurie Mullen

Sound Editor

Leo Murphy

Props

Matt Myers

Production Assistant

Abe Nejad

Sound Editor

Billy Novick

Song Performer

Jerry Offsay

Executive Producer

Joel Ossenfort

Scenic Artist

John Parker

Dresser

Reinhart Peschke

Gaffer

Tom Pielemeier

Carpenter

Bill Pierson

Dolly Grip

Sarah Pillsbury

Producer

Jacqueline Pine

Script Supervisor

Jacqueline Pinon

Wardrobe

Ken S Polk

Sound

Reggie Prim

Scenic Artist

Peggy Rajski

Production Manager

Peggy Rajski

Coproducer

John Ralbovsky

Scenic Artist

Gina Randazzo

Assistant Director

Marc Reshovsky

Director Of Photography

Robert Richardson

Director Of Photography

Michael Riley

Electrician

Dave Rudd

Assistant Camera Operator

Carrie Rudolf

Production Assistant

Kate Sanford

Apprentice

Midge Sanford

Producer

John Sayles

Song

John Sayles

Screenplay

Frank Scheidbach

Electrician

Jeannette Schiebe

Production Assistant

Lisa Schnall

Boom Operator

Dick Seay

Driver

Barbara Shapiro

Casting

Alan Simons

Scenic Artist

Bart Simpson

Carpenter

Dan Smiley

Carpenter

Tim Squyres

Assistant Editor

Jonathan Starch

Casting Associate

Nick Stavrogin

Sound Editor

David Stenten

Scenic Artist

Stanley Stenten

Scenic Artist

John Talbot

Carpenter

John Tintori

Editor

J Miller Tobin

Production Assistant

Marty Treinen

Carpenter

Matilda Valera

Auditor

Andrew Varela

Product Placement

Florence Vercheval

Scenic Artist

Amelia Villero

Production Assistant

Heidi Vogel

Post-Production Coordinator

Susan Wehling

Production Assistant

Richard Wester

Dresser

Mark Wiering

Carpenter

Lynn Wolverton

Set Decorator

Randy Wright

Driver

David Yancey

Assistant Camera Operator

Film Details

Also Known As
coulisses de l'exploit
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Drama
Historical
Sports
Release Date
1988
Distribution Company
Orion Pictures
Location
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h

Articles

Eight Men Out


In the last generation, the game of baseball has gotten the opportunity to prove its immutable place in the fabric of American culture, considering how it's weathered some of the most palpable hits ever to its standing. The strike-induced cancellation of the 1994 World Series; the gambling-fueled fall from grace of icon Pete Rose; the public light shined on a private players' culture that embraced performance-enhancing drug use. Time once was, though, that the sport's status wasn't quite so sacrosanct, and a seismic shake in public confidence could have resulted in its toppling. Independent writer-director John Sayles turned in a meticulous and engrossing dramatization of baseball's most notorious incident when he crafted Eight Men Out (1988).

In 1919, free agency was generations away in the offing, and major league baseball players were more or less the indentured help of the team owners; in Sayles' scenario, few ran their plantations as shabbily as Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey (Clifton James). After finishing the season with the majors' best record, the team gets informed by a flunky that their promised bonus for winning the pennant consists of the clubhouse champagne--which, of course, is flat. Comiskey's maltreatment of the team is so notorious, in fact, that professional gamblers--who, in the day, had easy access to professional ballplayers--found it probable that enough of the players could be successfully bribed to throw the upcoming Series against the odds-against Cincinnati Reds.

With that mindset, the Boston fixer Sport Sullivan (Kevin Tighe) sets his sights on the Sox's most readily corruptible mark, first baseman Chick Gandil (Michael Rooker). Gandil's willing to play ball; in his greed, though, he goes behind Sullivan's back and jumps in the pocket of two other sleazy small-timers, Bill Burns (Christopher Lloyd) and Billy Maharg (Richard Edson). Gandil now has to recruit enough teammates for the fix to work, and he finds relatively easy sells in shortstop Swede Risberg (Don Harvey), outfielder Hap Felsch (Charlie Sheen) and utilityman Fred McMullin (Perry Lang).

Integral, though, is the cooperation of the pitching staff's ace, the aging veteran Eddie Cicotte (David Strathairn). Initially, Cicotte contemptuously flings Gandil's overtures back in his face. Subsequently, though, the 29 game-winning Cicotte enters Comiskey's office to lobby for the $10,000 bonus he had been promised for 30 victories. The owner, who had rather suspiciously mandated Cicotte's resting for the postseason after his 29th win, stands by the letter of the agreement, and the embittered hurler thereafter joins Gandil's conspiracy. With Cicotte in, it's a simple matter to ring in No. 2 starter Lefty Williams (James Read) and to lean on the team's pliable offensive superstar, outfielder "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (D.B. Sweeney), for his cooperation. Aware of the fix, but unwilling to blow the whistle, is third baseman Buck Weaver (John Cusack).

Now needing the funds to grease the players, Sullivan supplicates to New York City crimelord Arnold Rothstein (Michael Lerner). Burns and Maharg, for their part, turn to Abe Attell (Michael Mantell), who lies about having Rothstein's backing. As the championship gets underway, the Sox's ineffectiveness against the supposedly overmatched Reds does not go unnoticed by the prominent Chicago sportswriters Ring Lardner (Sayles) and Hugh Fullerton (Studs Terkel). As they begin to scratch for the truth, the crooked double- and triple-dealings unravel, Cincinnati goes on to its tainted victory, and the eight "Black Sox" are left to the legal and professional aftermath of their transgressions.

Sayles had long harbored a fascination with the Black Sox scandal, and Eliot Asinof's thorough 1963 account of baseball's most notorious debacle. The onetime Philadelphia Phillies farmhand Asinof had actually first developed his project as a network TV play, and turned to print after production was squelched due to pressure from then-Commissioner of Baseball Ford Frick. As early as 1977, Sayles had generated a screenplay based on Asinof's research for a studio-mandated test of his writing skills; he first approached the production team that held Asinof's screen rights in 1980, and Orion Pictures ultimately signed off on a distribution package seven years later.

"Eliot said that when he first started researching it, as far as he was concerned, these guys were bums; they sold out," Sayles told George Vecsey in a New York Times interview upon the film's release. "But as Eliot started to learn more, he couldn't keep this simplistic view any more. He felt things were more understandable; some of them were bums, others were not. This was a complicated world. Other people were guilty and implicated. He began to understand how one could do it, knowing where the guys came from."

With $6.5 million in production costs, Sayles acquiesced in Orion's demand to cast young actors of the moment for his ensemble. Onetime White Sox outfielder Ken Berry was brought in to school the cast on their play, and the on-screen results are credible, with onetime minor leaguer Sweeney standing out. Indianapolis' Bush Stadium was effectively dressed to sub for both Comiskey Park and Cincy's Redland Field, with cardboard figures occupying seats where there was a dearth of Indianapolis extras willing to put on period clothing.

Sayles, who does bear a degree of facial resemblance to the real Lardner, got to effectively function as his story's Greek chorus. Effective work also came from John Mahoney as Kid Gleason, the patient manager who tumbles too late that something's horribly wrong. Also strong were the sundry "Clean Sox," including Bill Irwin as Eddie Collins, Gordon Clapp as Ray Schalk, and Jace Alexander as Dickie Kerr, who rallied to scratch out Chicago's two Series victories. Chalk it to the period theme, the lack of star power, or the business of the plot, but Eight Men Out fell short of recouping its costs in spite of largely positive notices. It remains an evocative piece of filmmaking that twenty years--and baseball's subsequent headaches--have done little to diminish.

Producers: Sarah Pillsbury, Midge Sanford
Director: John Sayles
Screenplay: John Sayles; Eliot Asinof (book "8 Men Out")
Cinematography: Robert Richardson
Art Direction: Dan Bishop
Music: Mason Daring
Film Editing: John Tintori
Cast: John Cusack (George 'Buck' Weaver), Clifton James (Charles 'Commie' Comiskey), Michael Lerner (Arnold Rothstein), Christopher Lloyd (Bill Burns), John Mahoney (William 'Kid' Gleason), Charlie Sheen (Oscar 'Hap' Felsch), David Strathairn (Eddie Cicotte), D.B. Sweeney (Joseph 'Shoeless Joe' Jackson), Michael Rooker (Arnold 'Chick' Gandil), Don Harvey (Charles 'Swede' Risberg), James Read (Claude 'Lefty' Williams).
C-119m. Closed captioning.

by Jay S. Steinberg
Eight Men Out

Eight Men Out

In the last generation, the game of baseball has gotten the opportunity to prove its immutable place in the fabric of American culture, considering how it's weathered some of the most palpable hits ever to its standing. The strike-induced cancellation of the 1994 World Series; the gambling-fueled fall from grace of icon Pete Rose; the public light shined on a private players' culture that embraced performance-enhancing drug use. Time once was, though, that the sport's status wasn't quite so sacrosanct, and a seismic shake in public confidence could have resulted in its toppling. Independent writer-director John Sayles turned in a meticulous and engrossing dramatization of baseball's most notorious incident when he crafted Eight Men Out (1988). In 1919, free agency was generations away in the offing, and major league baseball players were more or less the indentured help of the team owners; in Sayles' scenario, few ran their plantations as shabbily as Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey (Clifton James). After finishing the season with the majors' best record, the team gets informed by a flunky that their promised bonus for winning the pennant consists of the clubhouse champagne--which, of course, is flat. Comiskey's maltreatment of the team is so notorious, in fact, that professional gamblers--who, in the day, had easy access to professional ballplayers--found it probable that enough of the players could be successfully bribed to throw the upcoming Series against the odds-against Cincinnati Reds. With that mindset, the Boston fixer Sport Sullivan (Kevin Tighe) sets his sights on the Sox's most readily corruptible mark, first baseman Chick Gandil (Michael Rooker). Gandil's willing to play ball; in his greed, though, he goes behind Sullivan's back and jumps in the pocket of two other sleazy small-timers, Bill Burns (Christopher Lloyd) and Billy Maharg (Richard Edson). Gandil now has to recruit enough teammates for the fix to work, and he finds relatively easy sells in shortstop Swede Risberg (Don Harvey), outfielder Hap Felsch (Charlie Sheen) and utilityman Fred McMullin (Perry Lang). Integral, though, is the cooperation of the pitching staff's ace, the aging veteran Eddie Cicotte (David Strathairn). Initially, Cicotte contemptuously flings Gandil's overtures back in his face. Subsequently, though, the 29 game-winning Cicotte enters Comiskey's office to lobby for the $10,000 bonus he had been promised for 30 victories. The owner, who had rather suspiciously mandated Cicotte's resting for the postseason after his 29th win, stands by the letter of the agreement, and the embittered hurler thereafter joins Gandil's conspiracy. With Cicotte in, it's a simple matter to ring in No. 2 starter Lefty Williams (James Read) and to lean on the team's pliable offensive superstar, outfielder "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (D.B. Sweeney), for his cooperation. Aware of the fix, but unwilling to blow the whistle, is third baseman Buck Weaver (John Cusack). Now needing the funds to grease the players, Sullivan supplicates to New York City crimelord Arnold Rothstein (Michael Lerner). Burns and Maharg, for their part, turn to Abe Attell (Michael Mantell), who lies about having Rothstein's backing. As the championship gets underway, the Sox's ineffectiveness against the supposedly overmatched Reds does not go unnoticed by the prominent Chicago sportswriters Ring Lardner (Sayles) and Hugh Fullerton (Studs Terkel). As they begin to scratch for the truth, the crooked double- and triple-dealings unravel, Cincinnati goes on to its tainted victory, and the eight "Black Sox" are left to the legal and professional aftermath of their transgressions. Sayles had long harbored a fascination with the Black Sox scandal, and Eliot Asinof's thorough 1963 account of baseball's most notorious debacle. The onetime Philadelphia Phillies farmhand Asinof had actually first developed his project as a network TV play, and turned to print after production was squelched due to pressure from then-Commissioner of Baseball Ford Frick. As early as 1977, Sayles had generated a screenplay based on Asinof's research for a studio-mandated test of his writing skills; he first approached the production team that held Asinof's screen rights in 1980, and Orion Pictures ultimately signed off on a distribution package seven years later. "Eliot said that when he first started researching it, as far as he was concerned, these guys were bums; they sold out," Sayles told George Vecsey in a New York Times interview upon the film's release. "But as Eliot started to learn more, he couldn't keep this simplistic view any more. He felt things were more understandable; some of them were bums, others were not. This was a complicated world. Other people were guilty and implicated. He began to understand how one could do it, knowing where the guys came from." With $6.5 million in production costs, Sayles acquiesced in Orion's demand to cast young actors of the moment for his ensemble. Onetime White Sox outfielder Ken Berry was brought in to school the cast on their play, and the on-screen results are credible, with onetime minor leaguer Sweeney standing out. Indianapolis' Bush Stadium was effectively dressed to sub for both Comiskey Park and Cincy's Redland Field, with cardboard figures occupying seats where there was a dearth of Indianapolis extras willing to put on period clothing. Sayles, who does bear a degree of facial resemblance to the real Lardner, got to effectively function as his story's Greek chorus. Effective work also came from John Mahoney as Kid Gleason, the patient manager who tumbles too late that something's horribly wrong. Also strong were the sundry "Clean Sox," including Bill Irwin as Eddie Collins, Gordon Clapp as Ray Schalk, and Jace Alexander as Dickie Kerr, who rallied to scratch out Chicago's two Series victories. Chalk it to the period theme, the lack of star power, or the business of the plot, but Eight Men Out fell short of recouping its costs in spite of largely positive notices. It remains an evocative piece of filmmaking that twenty years--and baseball's subsequent headaches--have done little to diminish. Producers: Sarah Pillsbury, Midge Sanford Director: John Sayles Screenplay: John Sayles; Eliot Asinof (book "8 Men Out") Cinematography: Robert Richardson Art Direction: Dan Bishop Music: Mason Daring Film Editing: John Tintori Cast: John Cusack (George 'Buck' Weaver), Clifton James (Charles 'Commie' Comiskey), Michael Lerner (Arnold Rothstein), Christopher Lloyd (Bill Burns), John Mahoney (William 'Kid' Gleason), Charlie Sheen (Oscar 'Hap' Felsch), David Strathairn (Eddie Cicotte), D.B. Sweeney (Joseph 'Shoeless Joe' Jackson), Michael Rooker (Arnold 'Chick' Gandil), Don Harvey (Charles 'Swede' Risberg), James Read (Claude 'Lefty' Williams). C-119m. Closed captioning. by Jay S. Steinberg

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video April 27, 1989

Released in United States Summer September 2, 1988

Began shooting September 16, 1987.

Released in United States on Video April 27, 1989

Released in United States Summer September 2, 1988