A League of Their Own Penny Marshall

While the men of America were off fighting in the WWII, the country was left with no one to entertain professional baseball's crowds. Inspired by a true story, A League of Their Own pays tribute to the women who filled the national pastime void and were virtually forgotten as soon as the boys returned. League is often incorrectly touted as a Madonna flick, which is a shame, as her mere supporting role overshadows a great performance by Lori Petty as Kit, the stubborn younger sister who plays second fiddle to her all-star sibling Dottie (Geena Davis). The two girls leave their small farm life to compete for a spot in the temporary league and once they make the roster they have to prove to the public, as well as their drunken has-been coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), that they can compete as ferociously as the men. A League of Their Own can be overly emotional at times, especially in its drawn-out ending sequence in Cooperstown, but it is an important story about a time that might have been forgotten had Penny Marshall not taken it upon herself to document this historical event. The film gets fine DVD treatment via a second disc of extras, including an hour-long documentary that combines new interviews with a more than available Lori Petty, along with archival footage of superstars Tom Hanks and Madonna. The "making of" is daftly broken into nine chapters/innings, but tells the horror stories of concussions, broken noses, massive bruising and scars that were the rewards the cast received as they went through vigorous training to become convincing ball players. The great bonus of this DVD are the deleted scenes, which range from small and insignificant to a day's worth of shooting tossed on the cutting room floor. The bombshell series of events that didn't make the cut show Jimmy and Dottie locking lips on the empty field, breaking the sexual tension between the coach and his married catcher that's otherwise left unfulfilled in the original plot. Plus: full-length commentary with Penny Marshall, Lori Petty and others, Madonna music video, filmographies. (Columbia Tristar)