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The film version of The Natural pulls off the neat trick of conveying the spirit of the Bernard Malamud novel upon which it is based, even while changing both the outcome and the meaning of Malamud's closing chapters. In his first film appearance in four years, Robert Redford plays Roy Hobbs, a farm boy with a hankering to be a great baseball player. With his faithful homemade bat "Wonderboy" in hand, Roy heads to the big city. En route, he arouses the fascination of the mysterious Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey). Luring the boy to a hotel room, Harriet asks Roy what he wants out of life. Roy brashly responds he wants to be "the best there is," whereupon Harriet whips out a gun and shoots Roy down. Sixteen years later, a humbler Roy Hobbs emerges from the bush leagues to become a 35-year-old "rookie" on the 1939 lineup of the New York Knights. He soon becomes the team's star player, and in so doing once more attracts enigmatic woman Memo Paris (Kim Basinger), the glamorous niece of the Knights' manager Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley) and the mistress of Rothstein-like gambler Gus Sands (a curiously unbilled Darren McGavin). Roy's fascination with Memo compromises his ability to play, but this time he finds salvation in the form the angelic Iris Gaines (Glenn Close), his childhood sweetheart.

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Special Features * Video introduction by director Barry Levinson * Featurettes: * When Lightning Strikes: Creating the Natural: * Pre-Game: A novelist steps up to the plate * The line-up: Assembling the moviemaking team * Let's play ball: Filming the show * Clubhouse Conversations * A Natural Gunned Down: The stalking of Eddie Waitkus * Knights in Shining Armor: The mythology of the Natural * Extra Innings * Heart of the Natural

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CO18408 Natural, The DVD (1984/Robert Redford) $19.95