Metro Smacks One Out Of The Park
A Cheerful Surprise Was Angels In The Outfield (1951)
A real sleeper that audiences would remember a long time, this was one modest Metro the company didn't need to apologize for, so how come it still lost money? Harsh truth was, people just weren't going to movies like they had, so even good ones got the brush, especially when they were black and white and lacked notable stars. Angels In The Outfield came in for only a million in negative costs, an admirable economy, but still not cheap enough to assure profit at the end ($161K was loss). Maybe being about baseball was what threw the curve, or did women, who generally chose what couples/families went to see, lower a curtain? Producer-Director Clarence Brown went again on location to get nice footage at
|The "Money Back" Gag Was Rarely Used, But Merchandising|
Figured Angels For Quality That Would Back Up a Guarantee
In fact, Lady's Clark Gable was set for the Angels lead till mere weeks before shooting, and it's a regret he didn't do it, even though Paul Douglas is fine as the profane coach of a losing team who's intervened by celestial boosters that will lend hand provided he cleans language and treats players better. One of these is Bruce Bennett in fine character mode. We forget good work this actor did after retiring the Herman Brix jersey. MGM smelled an Angels hit after Bells Of St. Mary's and The Stratton Story fashion, and aggressively ran trade ads to that effect, "guaranteeing" it would click, which it no doubt did, among the not enough patrons who came. Drat that one-eyed monster that kept patronage at home! Exhibitors "rapped" Metro, according to Variety, for failure to emphasize Angel's comedy and baseball content in pressbook ads, making it necessary for showmen to devise their own campaigns from ground up. In Leo's defense, this wasn't a movie easy to describe in a sentence, and that made selling tough.