Eight Men Out | 1988
John Sayles’ version of the Chicago White Sox scandal, when eight members of the 1919 baseball team caused national uproar after they were caught throwing the world series (yes, it’s a straighter version of the story that inspired the Kevin Costner weepie Field Of Dreams).
To represent ‘1919 Chicago’, the production found Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine district. By-passed by redevelopment, Over-The-Rhine is the largest, most intact 19th-century urban neighbourhood in the States, making it an ideal period backdrop. You can see it as ‘New York’ in The Public Eye (with Joe Pesci as photographer Weegee) and A Rage In Harlem, and in its run-down 2000 state in Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic – since when the are’s undergone a major renovation.
The house of George 'Buck' Weaver (John Cusack) is on Elizabeth Street, between John Street and Central Avenue, downtown Cincinnati. To the east of downtown, the home of pitcher Eddie Cicotte (David Strathairn) is the historic George Pendleton House, 559 Liberty Hill at Highland Avenue. If you were wondering, Senator George Hunt Pendleton was responsible for the Pendleton Act of 1882, which created a Civil Service merit system.
The ball games, supposedly at Chicago’s ‘Comiskey Park’ and Cincinnati’s ‘Redland Field’, were filmed in Indiana. The Bush Stadium, 1501 West 16th Street in Indianapolis, one-time home to the Indianapolis Indians, was re-dressed to provide different settings.
Unless you’ve a Hollywood megabudget, it’s not easy hire enough extras for big crowd scenes – so the Stadium’s stands were populated with life-sized cut-out photographs of the location manager, dressed with hats and scarves.
After the Indians moved to a new park at Victory Field, the stadium was used as a speedway for a couple of years, then as storage space. It’s imaginatively been saved by a $13 million makeover to become the Stadium Loft Apartments – while preserving original features such as the original scoreboard, stadium lights and press box.
The ‘New York’ race track is Churchill Downs, 700 Central Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky, home of the US’ most prestigious horse race, the Kentucky Derby. The race is held on the first Saturday in May (though there’s racing here from the end of April to July and during October/November. You could also check out the Kentucky Derby Museum at Gate 1.
The railroad station where Arnold Rothstein (Michael Lerner) joins the syndicate and sends $40,000 is the historic Louisville’s Union Station, 1000 West Broadway at South 10th Street. The station closed in 1976, but was restored in 1980 and is open to the public on weekdays and Saturday mornings.
The various cross-country railway journeys filmed at the Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati, 315 West Southern Avenue, Covington, in Kentucky just south of the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati. The railroad museum, which has guided tours of Pullman sleepers and cars, and period memorabilia, is generally open weekends from May to October.