Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna star in this major league comedy from the team that brought you Big. Hanks stars as Jimmy Dugan, a washed-up ballplayer whose big league days are over. Hired to coach in the All-American Girls Baseball League of 1943 - while the male pros are at war - Dugan finds himself drawn back into the game by the heart and heroics of his all-girl team. Teammates Lori Petty and Rosie O'Donnell round out this all-star roster, with Jon Lovitz adding a scene-stealing cameo. Based on the true story of the pioneering women who blazed the trail for generations of athletes, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN is "a home run!" (Joel Siegel, ABC-TV)
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Like the film, the two-disc special edition of A League of Their Own is a family affair. Director Penny Marshall and her daughter Tracy Reiner (who played Betty "Spaghetti" Horn) are on the group commentary track along with Lori Petty (Kit Keller) and Megan Cavanagh (Marla Hooch). Then Marshall, her brother Garry (who played league owner Walter Harvey), and Reiner are among the substantial contributors, along with Geena Davis, Rosie O'Donnell, and others, to the new 52-minute documentary. (Tom Hanks and Madonna appear briefly in older interviews.) Both features offer substantial insight into the making of the film, discussing baseball boot camp, Penny Marshall's style ("Penny doesn't call 'Cut' for like nine years"; "No, I don't call cut because you never know what's going to happen."), and how the present-day ballplayers were older actors with the younger actors' voices dubbed in. None of the 15 deleted scenes was crucial to the film, but some are substantial and well worth watching--Kit Keller has a bar showdown, Hanks and Davis's characters have a scene together that also helps explain a later scene, and there's a Women's World Series subplot involving Marla. The film is viewable in either widescreen or full-screen on a double-sided disc, and Madonna's video "This Used to Be My Playground" makes its DVD debut. The features fall a little short on providing historical perspective, so it's too bad they don't include the League of Their Own documentary, which was packaged with the film in one of its VHS editions. --David Horiuchi
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