The Moving Talkie

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I recently finished the book, The Film that Changed My Life by Robert Elder. It’s a collection of interviews that Elder has with many of today’s top directors as they tell the films that changed their way of thinking. Their way of making. And their way of editing.

It got me thinking too. While a ton of these movies I haven’t seen, I thought for sure I would pick a movie that was a classic as mine. I thought of movies I watched growing up and continue to watch today, but did any of them really move me the way these directors were moved?

And it was then that I realized the film that truly has stuck with me, shaped me and continues to amaze me.

That film: A League of Their Own. To my mom, high school and college friends, this probably comes as no surprise. It’s a movie that I quote frequently, a movie I’m always watching and a movie I’m constantly recommending.

In his book, Elder always asked “Where were you when you first saw the film?” and “What about this film stuck with you?” I’m not a director, but I have been editing a lot of video at work, so maybe I am…

Where were you when you first saw the film?

I cannot remember where I first saw this film. It came out in the Summer of 1992, which makes me think I probably saw it with either my mom or dad simply because it was girls playing baseball, and I was a girl, playing softball. But I can remember the day I unwrapped the VHS on my birthday a few years later and the joy I felt seeing Dottie Henson, Jimmy Dugan and All the Way Mae on the cover.

What about this film stuck with you?

Apart from being a gal who enjoyed baseball, I love the drama of this film. And how it encompasses pretty much everything: love, sports, girl power, sibling struggles, war, a singing number, a dancing number and 1940s dress.

But I think my love affair with the film began when I met a “real” All-American Girl, Pepper Paire. It was one of those sports conventions my dad took me to. And it was filled with trading cards everywhere and then I caught wind of this “girl” ball player there.

She signed a photo for me that has literally followed me wherever I am. Always hanging from the same spot in the room, right by the door.. from my bedroom, to college, to Phoenix and now, Chicago. It’s very faded, her writing, “To Hanna! My best friend! Best Wishes!” is barely even visible. I’m sure my 9 year-old-self loved that “best friend” sentiment.

In fact, my 26-year-old still does.

Is there a movie that’s shaped who you are? And one you just find yourself rewatching from time to time (despite being able to play the whole movie in your head)?

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