when Billie beats Bobby, have you watched this movie?

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Tenny, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. Tenny

    Tenny Professional

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    #1
  2. Noelle

    Noelle Hall Of Fame

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    I think I saw bits and pieces of this movie on HBO. I just remember thinking, "How much uglier can they make Holly Hunter look?"
     
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  3. Joe Average

    Joe Average Rookie

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    I saw it. It was a tv movie, not a theater release. From what I know about the match, having been alive at the time, and from what I've read since, it's pretty accurate. It avoids the trappings of revisionist history ... often found on these boards.

    The NYTimes had an interesting article several weeks ago about the Riggs/Court match. Billie Jean King would not have played this match if not for Court's humiliating loss. She tried to discourage Court from playing, seeing that there was nothing to be gained from this. And she was right. If Court won, she beat a middle-aged man very few people even knew played tennis, let alone won a Grand Slam title. If she lost, it was a setback for women's rights. So, she didn't even know Court agreed to play. And only found out about it, when she called a friend from an airport, while the match was going on. Riggs told lots of people that it wasn't Court he wanted, but King ... the biggest baddest feminist around. And he got her. In fact, he was the one, not King, who made it into a Battle of the Sexes. It was the only way he could promote it.
     
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  4. Capt. Willie

    Capt. Willie Professional

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    I think this is the key that a lot of people miss. While winning the match would have been nice, I feel Riggs main motivation in the match was the big payday. He did whatever it took to stir up interest in the match. And he succeeded. Is there another tennis match that is still talked about 30 years later? Anyway, getting back to the original point of this thread, I saw it a few years ago when it first came out. Not bad for a made for TV movie. And much better than a lot of other tennis related movies.
     
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  5. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Joe,
    Sounds like the NY Times article had a lot of holes in it. Was there any mention of Court being both injured and in the early stages of pregnancy -with attendant morning sickness- when Riggs beat her? Probably not because that kind of puts a dampner on the cultural impact it achieved in the States.
     
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  6. Joe Average

    Joe Average Rookie

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    Andrew, pregnancy was mentioned, but not as an excuse for her losing the match. The article did leave the impression that Court went in expecting to play poker but, instead, got dealt a game of three-card monte. It was a hustle. She practiced all week-long against male hitting partners, including Tony Trabert ... and was, according to the article, just whipping them. She brought one pair of shoes, for the week, which her toddler tossed into the toilet. The article treated her well. She was portrayed as a very pious woman, trusting, serious ... who got hustled by a guy who played a game you wouldn't see outside a playground. She didn't realize what was happening ... and got caught in Bobby Riggs's publicity scam.
     
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  7. Tenny

    Tenny Professional

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    Thanks everyone,

    I wish I could watch THE original. Where on earth are all those CLASSIC match tapes? I wanna see 1972 Rosewall df. Laver match too! Does Holly Hunter and her counterpart actor actually play tennis in this movie?

    I saw her in "Piano" for the first time and frankly, disgusted (by the movie). If I had not watched "Raising Arizona" by accident, I would not have watched another Holly Hunter movie in my life!
     
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  8. Joe Average

    Joe Average Rookie

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    Well, they (Holly Hunter and Ron Silver) do play movie tennis, as credibly as William Bendix played baseball as Babe Ruth or Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig. But it's also a bit of a period piece. If you didn't know what tennis was like then ... you'd think this was the way they played it. And also, mind you, it wasn't sparkling tennis that was played that night. Tom LeCompte's wrote this in his definitive biography of Bobby Riggs, "The Last Sure Thing":

    "Billie Jean could not believe how slow Bobby was, how softly he hit the ball, and thought he must be faking it, that he must have some trick up his sleeve. Perhaps he was playing possum, waiting for the right moment to unleash his bag of tricks. She turned and asked Dennis Van der Meer, one of her two designated consultants (the other was companion Marilyn Barnett), 'He's putting me on, right?' Nope, Van der Meer assured her, having previously sat at the Court-Riggs match. She was seeing the real thing ...

    "At first, Billie Jean and Bobby played cautiously, feeling each other out, probing for weaknesses, and looking to establish momentum. From the start, however, Billie Jean was more focused and determined. Sticking to her game plan, she refused to fall for Bobby's loopy topspin, a shot designed to tempt her into making errors as Court had. Instead, she simply chipped the ball back, concentrating on hitting to Bobby's backhand and on running him from one end of the court to the other."
     
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  9. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Joe,
    Thanks for that and my apologies to the good people at the NY Times . Always very curious when that topic comes up just how much of a slant they put on it but it sounds like they were pretty even-handed all round. Given that it was the NY Times I probably should have expected it.
     
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  10. Tenny

    Tenny Professional

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    Wow, I liked it!

    Oh-ho,

    I've watched this cute movie during TG and liked it. Bobby Riggs' role was played very well. Even his infamous teeth! Holly Hunter did a good job too. Maybe it's because Hunter was in it, I felt heavy Coen Brothers style that I like a lot in the movie. Anyway, I enjoyed it and strongly recommend to anyone who might be interested.

    * Also, it's a warm-hearted effort. I esp. like the scene between Billie and Bobby (before TV conference scene and the last scene). Well done!

    :D
     
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