Angels in the Outfield

Has anyone else seen the original from 1951? (Not the remake from the early 1990’s with Danny Glover.)

I watched it last night and enjoyed it a great deal. There’s an interesting scene where the ill-tempered manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates who has been accused of speaking to non-existent angels calls to testify on his behalf a Protestant minister, a rabbi and a Catholic priest. After testifying that angels do exist according to scripture and tradition they ask the commissioner of baseball if they may be excused from the hearing early as they have tickets to an afternoon ballgame that is about to begin.

One odd thing that I’ve noticed in a number of Hollywood movies that deal with angels is that it’s assumed or suggested that angels used to be human beings. The manager wonders aloud which famous ballplayer (Christy Mathewson, Lou Gherig, Ty Cobb, even Babe Ruth(!)) his guardian angel was during his human lifetime. Whereas I thought that it’s standard orthodox Christian belief that angels are another category of creature altogether from humans (angelos = messengers, i.e. God’s messengers), not humans who have died and been promoted to some higher status.

Recall that in Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” the angel Clarence has some kind of former existence as a human being. And so I think does the angel played by Cary Grant in “The Bishop’s Wife”.

Probably an error to expect theological certainties from hollywood! There was a time when vampires were scared of crosses, but now Hollywood has decided that they’re not!

Most of the religious films I have seen are sentmental tripe that are enjoyable from a certain perspective (usually sunday afternoon, when dozing off after a good feed!), but are aimed at money making, rather than anything else. There may be exceptions: Gibson’s Passion was a serious interpretation that would, I believe, have been made regardless of profit or loss. But angels, in the hands of Hollywood, are just like cream icing on a cake - sweet enough to make yer teeth ache!

Having said that, i’ve just remembered that film with Matt Damon (???) who plays a disenchanted Gabriel (or maybe Michael) who’s earth bound, and complains bitterly about God’s infatuation with humans. Don’t remember the name of the film, but liked it for two reasons: one, it was different, and conatined the discription of humans as “chattering monkeys”. Certainly summed up a few that I know!

I think the only way most movie viewers would relate to angels would be if they were presented as former human beings.

Because we are not spirits (and were never intended to be), pure spirits will always have a “spookiness” to them; whereas we understand dead human beings all too well.

In any case, I wouldn’t turn to a film to learn theology any more than I’d go to a monastery to see a movie:)

God Bless and ICXC NIKA


In any case, I wouldn’t turn to a film to learn theology any more than I’d go to a monastery to see a movie:)

God Bless and ICXC NIKA

Neither would I. I just thought it was interesting that a movie with such seemingly good intentions toward theism and Christianity in particular would get this point wrong. The fact that other movies in the same genre follow suit suggests to me that there’s a folk belief in American culture out there that angels and humans are somehow related. But your theory that it has something to do with dramatic necessities tied to the art form is also compelling.

It’s a rather abstract point to get wrong. Most viewers (and scriptwriters) do not study theology or philosophy. The idea of a hierarchy of spirits above us but below God is too strange for pop culture.

(Even God, for that matter; that’s why He was played by George Burns!:):))

I myself think that’s how we are made; that’s why we were given our LORD!!!


I can’t help but think of this portion of Psalm 8:

*When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:*

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