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The Catcher Was a Spy (2018)

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A major league baseball player, Moe Berg, lives a double life working for the Office of Strategic Services.

Director:

Ben Lewin

Writers:

Robert Rodat, Nicholas Dawidoff (based upon the book: Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Rudd ... Moe Berg
Pierfrancesco Favino ... Martinuzzi
Tom Wilkinson ... Paul Scherrer
Connie Nielsen ... Koranda
Anna Geislerová ... Rathe
Mark Strong ... Werner Heisenberg
Simon Perina Simon Perina ... First Baseman Boston
John Schwab ... Lefty Grove
Krystof Dupal Krystof Dupal ... Second Baseman Boston
Jirí Vavrusa Jirí Vavrusa ... Shortstop Boston
Shea Whigham ... Joe Cronin
Bobby Schofield ... Bill Dalton
Philip Lenkowsky ... NYC Taxi Driver
Sienna Miller ... Estella
Demetri Goritsas ... Clifton Fadiman
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Storyline

A major league baseball player, Moe Berg, lives a double life working for the Office of Strategic Services.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on the True Story of Moe Berg

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Catcher Was a Spy See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$114,771, 24 June 2018

Gross USA:

$712,438

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$875,102
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The baseball game scenes were filmed at iconic Fenway Park in Boston, MA. See more »

Goofs

As is the case in many WWII movies, the US flag is a 50-star, not a 48-star. Noticed in the meeting room. See more »

Quotes

Sam Goudsmit: And so, the madness becomes real - We have to kill Werner Heisenberg, and I am to be a part of it.
Moe Berg: No one wants to kill Heisenberg.
Sam Goudsmit: Yeah? Then kidnap him! Send in spies to Germany and kidnap him.
Robert Furman: Ah, you've read too many spy novels.
Sam Goudsmit: I've never read a spy novel.
Robert Furman: It's not that easy to kidnap somebody.
Sam Goudsmit: Ah yeah, you mean killing is easier.
See more »


Soundtracks

Pathé News Fanfare
Written by Stanley Black
Courtesy of APM Music
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User Reviews

 
just a bit outside
21 June 2018 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. World War II. Baseball. Spies. A true story. Assemble all those pieces and you have Morris "Moe" Berg. Director Ben Lewin (THE SESSIONS, 2012) brings the fascinating story to the big screen with Robert Rodat's (Oscar nominated for SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) screenplay adapted from the 1994 biography "The Catcher was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg" written by Nicholas Dawidoff. This is neither your typical spy movie nor your typical baseball movie.

Background information is provided by pre-movie title cards: in 1938 German scientists split the atom for the first time, ushering in the nuclear age; renowned German physicist Werner Heisenberg (1932 Nobel Prize winner) was charged with building an atom bomb; the United States responded by sending a baseball player to assassinate him. It's 1944 Zurich and two men exchange uncomfortable glances across a dimly lit room.

We then flashback 8 years to see Moe Berg utilizing his gut instincts to survive as a veteran journeyman catcher for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. We later learn his sixth sense is not limited to the baseball diamond, and is used in situations much more important than whether a baserunner is stealing a base. Growing up Jewish, Berg had always been somewhat of an outsider, admitting, "I don't fit in." In baseball, they called him a walking enigma. Educated at Princeton, Columbia and Sorbonne in Paris, Berg spoke several languages, had a 'fake' wife, was a regular on quiz shows, and was constantly followed by insinuations of homosexuality ... though he only admitted to being good at keeping secrets.

Berg's is a truly fascinating story, but unfortunately Paul Rudd is a bit overmatched in the lead role. He just doesn't quite have the dramatic acting chops to convey the intellectual depth of the man. However, the rest of the cast is stellar: Paul Giamatti (as Samuel Goudsmit), Connie Nielsen, Mark Strong (Heisenberg), Sienna Miller, Hiroyuki Sanada, Guy Pearce, Jeff Daniels (as William J Donovan), Tom Wilkinson (as Paul Scherrer), Giancarlo Giannini (a 50+ year career), and Shea Whigham (as Joe Cronin). Many of these are little more than cameos, and the choppy feel of the film's flow prevents us from ever really connecting to characters.

An extended battle scene volleys from intense and well-filmed to slightly comical as Mr. Giamatti is forced to run and dodge bullets. The look, tone and color palette of the film is quite similar to Spielberg's BRIDGE OF SPIES (another true story), though this current one pales in comparison, as director Lewin presents it as a "will he won't he kill the guy?" scenario. Berg's story is likely more suited to documentary treatment, as his time with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS, later the CIA), resulted in his being awarded the Medal of Freedom. Upon his death in 1972, Newsweek's headline read "3rd String Catcher, 1st String Spy".


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