Baseball, America's favorite pastime had only one face. White America. Black athletes were not even considered talented enough to play in their leagues so, the Negro Leagues were formed. The Soul of The game follows the lives of three of the most recognizable and three of the best to ever play the game of baseball, Black or White. Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson. This history unfolds in stories related to a young Willie Mays prior to his taking the field in a major league game. Many years after their deaths. Finance not civility was the reason these men were even considered as possible players for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Realizing the immense profitability, these players would create, the owners of the teams were all to eager to sign the best of the bunch. Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, these were legendary players only if you didn't include the records of Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson. They broke records that have never been equaled and never will be. The story is set in 1945. The war is over and money is to be made. These three men are playing in the Negro Leagues and south of the border making money and names for themselves in a widely diverse grouping. Unwilling to stake their teams' "good names" on undesirables, the coaches look for young players with no history, no civil disobedience…i.e.…standing up against racism publicly and no skeletons in their closets.
To the fan of baseball, it's really no contest, Jackie Robinson had no experience, and Gibson and Paige had sewn up the league between the two of them. Hands down, they were the best in the business. However, the best don't always get the recognition they deserve and such is at the heart of, the Soul of The Game.
The audio is presented in a 2-channel Dolby surround that employs the sub in a fairly dramatic ways throughout the film. The dialogue is clear and the audio is well delineated. The video is presented in a widescreen format that provides an excellent viewing experience. I did not notice any transfer errors, though I'm sure they were there. The colors were rich and full and the flesh tones were accurate.
When I think of the wealth of supplemental materials that could have been included on this disc, it amazes me how something so skimpy could have been released. There are no extras on this disc, not even a trailer for the film. However, I can't rail totally on HBO, as they seem to be the only Cable channel producing top-rate films on the Black experience. Namely, Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, The Tuskegee Airmen, A prayer before dying and Soul of The Game. All I'm asking for is a little meat on the bones in the way of information about the Negro Leagues. How many teams comprised the leagues? What were their names and logos? How many went from these leagues into the "majors" and so on and so forth. Just a little something to chew on HBO.
The Soul of The Game is a great film that puts a face on the truest spirit of "America's favorite pastime". It's historical accuracy coupled with flair for the dramatic goes a long way to present a story that's been largely forgotten. The Soul of The Game is an intelligently written, glimpse into our not too distant past. It demands that you see the inequity and it employs every dramatic tactic to make its point. Much like HBO's aforementioned previous entries, The Soul of The Game is not one to be missed. Highly Recommended