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Cobb (film)

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Title: Cobb (film)  
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Subject: Gavin Smith (film studio executive), Lolita Davidovich, Ty Cobb, 1994 in film, 1990s sports films
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Cobb (film)

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ron Shelton
Produced by David V. Lester
Arnon Milchan
Written by Al Stump (book and article)
Ron Shelton (screenplay)
Starring Tommy Lee Jones
Robert Wuhl
Lolita Davidovich
Music by Elliot Goldenthal
Cinematography Russell Boyd
Edited by Kimberly Ray
Paul Seydor
Regency Enterprises
Alcor Films
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
December 2, 1994
Running time
128 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $1,007,600

Cobb is a 1994 biopic starring Tommy Lee Jones as the famed baseball player Ty Cobb. It was written and directed by Ron Shelton and was based on a book by Al Stump. The original music score was composed by Elliot Goldenthal.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
  • Reception 4
    • Critical response 4.1
    • Box office 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Sportswriter Al Stump is hired in 1960 as ghostwriter of an authorized autobiography of baseball player Tyrus Raymond "Ty" Cobb. Now 73 and in failing health, Cobb wants an official biography to "set the record straight" before he dies.

Stump arrives at Cobb's Lake Tahoe estate to write the official life story of the first baseball player inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He finds a continually-drunken, misanthropic, bitter racist who abuses his biographer as well as everyone else he comes in contact with. Although Cobb's home is luxurious, it is without heat, power and running water due to long-running violent disputes between Cobb and utility companies. Cobb also rapidly runs through domestic workers, hiring and firing them in quick succession.

Although Cobb is seriously ill and prone to frequent physical breakdown, he retains considerable strength and also keeps several loaded firearms within easy reach at almost all times, making the outbreak of violent confrontation always an immediate possibility in his presence.

Cobb almost gets killed in an automobile accident off the Donner Pass, driving recklessly in a blizzard. Stump rescues him, but Cobb then seizes control of Stump's car until he gets into another accident. The car has to be towed to Reno.

Stump and Cobb go see a show at a Reno resort hotel featuring Keely Smith and Louis Prima, whose act Cobb rudely interrupts. A cigarette girl, Ramona, becomes interested in Stump, but when Cobb barges into the hotel room, he's in a jealous rage. He takes Ramona to another room, where he physically abuses her.

Cobb and Stump travel together cross-country by automobile to the Baseball Hall of Fame's induction weekend in Cooperstown, New York, where many star players from Cobb's era are in attendance, including Rogers Hornsby and Mickey Cochrane. Cobb is haunted by images from his violent past as he views film footage of his career.

From there, Cobb and Stump drive south to Cobb's native

External links

  1. ^ Wells, Jeffrey (April 8, 1994). "Tommy Boy". Entertainment Weekly. 


See also

The film opened in limited release in December 1994. It earned a reported $1,007,583 at the U.S. box office.

Box office

Cobb currently has a 64% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 47 reviews.

Roger Ebert's review of Dec. 2, 1994 in the Chicago Sun-Times described Cobb as one of the most original biopics ever made and including "one of Tommy Lee Jones's best performances," yet gave the film only two stars of a possible four.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone hailed it as "one of the year's best" and Charles Taylor of Salon included it on his list of the best films of the decade. Others took a harsher view of the picture. Owen Glieberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a 'D', claiming it to be a "noisy, cantankerous buddy picture" and presented Cobb as little more than a "septuagenarian crank." He noted that while the film had constant reminders of Cobb's records, it had little actual baseball in it, besides one flashback where Cobb is seen getting on base, then stealing third and home, and instigating a brawl with the opposing team. He explained: "By refusing to place before our eyes Ty Cobb's haunted ferocity as a baseball player, it succeeds in making him look even worse than he was."

Critical response


Tyler Logan Cobb, a descendant of Cobb's, played "Young Ty."

The film shows Cobb sharpening his spikes as a means to keep infielders from tagging him out as he ran the bases, and was accused of spiking several players who tried. Cobb, however, always denied ever spiking anyone on purpose.

Tommy Lee Jones was shooting this film when he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Fugitive. Since his head was partially shaved in the front for his role as the balding, 72-year-old Cobb, the actor made light of the situation in his acceptance speech: "All a man can say at a time like this is, 'I am not really bald,'" Jones said. He added, "But I do have work." In addition to his partially shaved head, Jones also endured a broken ankle, suffered while practicing Cobb's distinctive slide.[1]

The late baseball announcer Ernie Harwell, a member of the Hall of Fame, is featured as emcee at a Cooperstown, New York awards banquet. Real-life sportswriters Allan Malamud, Doug Krikorian, and Jeff Fellenzer and boxing publicist Bill Caplan appear in the movie's opening and closing scenes at a Santa Barbara bar as Stump's friends and fellow scribes. Carson City free-lance photographer Bob Wilkie photographed many still scenes for Nevada Magazine, the Associated Press, and the Nevada Appeal.

Much of the Cobb location filming was done in Northern Nevada. The hotel check-in was at the Morris Hotel on Fourth Street in Reno. Casino, outdoor and entry shots were done outside Cactus Jack's Hotel and Casino in Carson City and outside the then-closed, now-reopened (2007) Doppelganger's Bar in Carson City.

Baseball scenes were filmed in Royston, Georgia.


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