Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ron Shelton|
|Produced by||David V. Lester
Stump (Book and Article)
Ron Shelton (Screenplay)
|Starring||Tommy Lee Jones
|Music by||Elliot Goldenthal|
|Editing by||Kimberly Ray
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release date(s)||December 2, 1994|
|Running time||128 min.|
Cobb is a 1994 film drama starring Tommy Lee Jones as the famed baseball player Ty Cobb. It was written and directed by Ron Shelton, based on a book by Al Stump. The original music score was composed by Elliot Goldenthal.
Based on a true story, sportswriter Al Stump is hired to write an authorized "autobiography" of the great Ty Cobb, one of the most legendary baseball players of all time.
Stump arrives at the Lake Tahoe home of the dying Cobb to write the official life story of the first baseball player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He finds a drunken, misanthropic, bitter racist who abuses his biographer as well as everyone else.
They travel together cross-country to a Hall of Fame induction weekend in Cooperstown, New York, where many players from Cobb's era attend, and then on to Cobb's native Georgia, where his estranged daughter continues to live. After spending time with Cobb, Stump is torn between writing the book that Cobb wants and writing the truth.
Baseball scenes were filmed at Birmingham's Rickwood Field, which stood in for Philadelphia's Shibe Park and Pittsburgh's Forbes Field. Scenes also were filmed in Cobb's actual hometown of Royston, Georgia.
Much of the Cobb location filming was done in Northern Nevada. The hotel check-in was at the Morrison Hotel on Fourth Street in Reno. Casino outdoor and entry shots were done outside Cactus Jack's in Carson City and outside the then-closed, now-reopened (2007) Doppelganger's in Carson City
Baseball announcer Ernie Harwell, a member of the Hall of Fame, is featured as emcee at a Cooperstown, New York awards banquet. Real-life sportswriters Allan Malamud, Doug Krikorian, Jeff Fellenzer and boxing publicist Bill Caplan appear in the movie's opening and closing scenes at a Santa Barbara bar as Stump's friends and fellow scribes. Carson City free-lance photographer Bob Wilkie photographed many still scenes for Nevada Magazine, the Associated Press and the Nevada Appeal.
Tommy Lee Jones was shooting this film when he won the Academy Award for The Fugitive. Since his head was shaved for his role as Cobb, the actor made light of the situation in his acceptance speech, saying. "All a man can say at a time like this is, 'I am not really bald,'" Jones said. He added, "But I do have work." In addition to his shaved head, Jones also endured a broken ankle, suffered while practicing Cobb's distinctive slide.
Tyler Logan Cobb, a descendant of Cobb's, played "Young Ty."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone hailed it as "one of the year's best" and Charles Taylor of Salon included it on his list of the best films of the decade. Others took a harsher view of the picture. Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a 'D', claiming it to be a "noisy, cantankerous buddy picture" and presented Cobb as little more than a "suptegenerian crank". He noted that while the film had constant reminders of Cobbs records, it had little actual baseball in it, besides one flashback where Cobb is seen getting on base, then stealing third and home, and getting into an altercation with a fan. He explained: "By refusing to place before our eyes Ty Cobb's haunted ferocity as a baseball player, it succeeds in making him look even worse than he was."
The film opened in limited release in December 1994. It earned a reported $1,007,583 at the U.S. box office.