Bang the Drum Slowly
is a 1973 film adaptation of the 1956 baseball novel of the same name
by Mark Harris
. It was previously dramatized in 1956 on the U.S. Steel Hour
with Paul Newman
and Albert Salmi
It was directed by John D. Hancock
and stars Michael Moriarty
and a then-little-known Robert De Niro
as baseball teammates. De Niro's performance in this film and in Mean Streets
, released two months later, brought him widespread acclaim.
Henry Wiggen is a star pitcher for the New York Mammoths of professional baseball. He is a valuable player to his manager, Dutch, but is in a dispute with the team's ownership for a new contract and more money.
One of Henry's teammates and best friends on the team is a catcher, Bruce Pearson, a player of limited skill and intellect. Bruce refers to Henry by the nickname "Author" because the brainy pitcher once wrote a book, although Bruce misunderstands the origin of the name and, with his thick Southern drawl, often calls him "Arthur" instead.
Henry is married to Holly and the two of them are fond of Bruce. So it comes as devastating news when Bruce learns he has a blood disease and is terminally ill.
The team knows nothing about this and Dutch is preparing to bench or release Bruce in favor of a hot young prospect, country boy Piney Woods. So management is amazed and confused with Henry agrees to a new contract on one condition, that Bruce stay and play.
Dutch tries everything he can think of to make Henry reveal why... Read More