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Plot: A major league baseball player, Moe Berg, lives a double life working for the Office of Strategic Services. Runtime: 98 min Release Date: 22 Jun 2018
The running joke in baseball was that Moe Berg could speak 8 languages but he couldn't hit in any of them. He had a long career in baseball because people were impressed by his intelligent. It was said that he found his place as a bullpen catcher where his conversational skills entertained the relief pitcher. Moe Berg's spying activities were classified information for years. A fictional book about Moe Berg in Japan is titled "Zen Babe."I really enjoyed he movie because Moe Berg was an enigma. He also was a very sad man who seemed to drift the last twenty years of his life. <more>
Wild Bill Donovan, who was Moe's boss in the movie, was also a major league pitcher who served with the legendary "Fighting 69th" during the first World War. He also went on to start the CIA.
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Character Study (by fdbjr)
I'm boosting this movie in ratings a little to give it a break, from some of the others that I don't think understood it. 'The Catcher Was a Spy' isn't a spy movie at all, although the central action of the plot is a spy mission. Rather, it is a character study of a surprisingly interesting human being, Mo Berg. Despite an abundance of gifts - there are not many human beings who can play major league baseball AND speak 12 languages - he was one of the most intensely private people imaginable, making his life a complete enigma. The picture sought to capture the essence of <more>
the man. Paul Rudd was excellent in the major role, although his performance is so low key add buttoned-down, it is easy to disregard it.I liked the movie a lot. I also liked the first 'Kingman'. 'Kingsman' was a spy movie. This one is not. Taken on its own terms, you'll likely enjoy it.
"The strangest man ever to play baseball." - Casey Stengel (by gradyharp)
Director Ben Lewin has created a sensitive portrait of a very private 'public' person Moe Berg - a celebrated American catcher and coach in Major League Baseball who later served as a spy for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Not only a famous baseball hero Moe's education included degrees from Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University, Columbia Law School, he spoke several languages and regularly read 10 newspapers a day. His reputation was fueled by his successful appearances as a contestant on the radio quiz show Information, Please, in <more>
which he answered questions about the derivation of words and names from Greek and Latin, historical events in Europe and the Far East, and ongoing international conferences. As a spy working for the government of the United States, Berg traveled to Yugoslavia to gather intelligence on resistance groups the U.S. government was considering supporting. He was then sent on a mission to Italy, where he interviewed various physicists concerning the German nuclear program. After the war, Berg was occasionally employed by the OSS's successor, the Central Intelligence Agency. Nicholas Dawidoff wove these facts into his novel by the same name as the film and Robert Rodat adapted it for the screen.The film works on many levels - and one of the primary reasons is the presence of Paul Rudd in the title role - quite easily his finest role to date. He is credible as Moe the athlete, the possibly sexually ambiguous man, the multilingual brilliant student, and the in the role of spy for the OSS assigned to murder the German physicist Werner Heisenberg Mark Strong who was considered to be creating an atomic bomb for the Germans. The supporting cast is excellent - Sienna Miller as Moe's favorite lady Estella, Guy Pearce, Paul Giamatti, Jeff Daniels, Tom Wilkinson, Giancarlo Giannini, among other. The musical score is one of Howard Shore's finest, and the cinematography by Andrij Parekh is excellent.A complex man, probably more private than any famous figure, Moe Berg makes a very fine subject for this excellent film. And it is all true!
I liked the movie. He was a very secretive person who lived a double life and had secrets and he never wanted to talk about what he did as a spy, so information about may be scarce.
A good story that tries to get it right (by kenstallings-65346)
When a movie is made about a real life person, it should try to get the story accurate. It seems some criticize this movie because it doesn't pack the action of a James Bond movie. Well, then go watch a James Bond movie! The Bond series was authored by someone who worked in British intelligence Ian Fleming and the details of his actual career read much like that of Moe Berg.Real spying isn't action packed. It's not supposed to be. A good spy is supposed to blend in so as not to attract attention. I liked this story because it portrayed the action in that way, in the periphery, <more>
as part of the plan but not the core part of it.Period newspaper articles in the United States, and Moe Berg's biography openly say that Berg's all important mission in Switzerland was to ascertain the probability of Heisenberg's ability to create a Nazi atomic bomb, and if he determined there was a chance, to kill him.It would be illogical to put an OSS spy in vicinity of someone like Heisenberg without a plan to assassinate him. The only reason not to is the effect on the scientific community should history record that the United States assassinated Heisenberg despite reasonable knowledge he wasn't able to build the bomb.The decision point that Moe Berg faced was one of the most interesting of the entire war. Perhaps the strongest reason against assassination is that Heisenberg was one of several leading Nazi scientists working on the atomic bomb. Killing him likely would have had no more impact than leaving him alive would have. Ultimately, post-war analysis of the Nazi's work, by those who led the Manhattan Project, proved that the Nazi program never had a chance of success. This because they never advanced past the theoretical, and even much of their theory was proven wrong by the actual research and development of the American project. So, Berg made the right choice.Regardless of that, the Presidential Medal of Freedom was not lightly awarded, not even to OSS spies who operated in neutral territory nor behind the lines. This is another indication that Berg's mission was presented reasonably accurately in this movie, as it shows the extreme risks he took, even as he sought to stay behind the scenes. It took another Nazi spy to recognize Berg's mission.In terms of movies that showed the efforts of OSS espionage, this movie might be among the most accurate. If you want the big explosions and body count, again, go watch a Bond movie and enjoy the entertainment. If you want to know what true spy craft looks like, then this movie provides a very good insight.It's mainly brains, the ability to think on one's feet, sum up a complex situation quickly, be physically fit enough to meet the demands, and be willing to employ the violence when the mission calls for it, but in a way that the public does not see -- exactly as this movie shows in telling the story of a true American hero. Moe Berg perfectly fit all the OSS requirements and this movie showed why.
The Difference Between Spy Flicks and Spy Biopics (by organicsocial)
What comes to mind when we talk about a spy films? Something like Mission Impossible, James Bond or a little different ones like Salt, Red Sparrow and so on... ?Well there is a basic difference between spy fiction and the reality of spy trade-craft. Although the most exciting of the spy thrillers try to capture some of the elements of real world spying but those are mostly technical aspects which are adopted to give these movies a certain credibility; to make them believable to some extent. Spy biopics like 'The Catcher Was a Spy' are different from these spy action thrillers because <more>
the titular characters are not out there to perform stunts. They are out there to gather real and sensitive information. Information which could decide the fate of a real war and a real man's life. The thrill in this movie comes from the grand scope of the mission and the conversely understated actions of a spy so as to avoid all attention. There are no guns blazing here. This is Paul Rudd's classic regular guy performances at it's best. The real life Moe Berg was an anomaly. A sportsman with unexceptional career but a genius mind of sorts. Quite simply a good candidate for a spy in second world war but not of much use afterwards. If you are watching this movie for the spy thrills then you might be disappointed. However, if you want to get a glimpse of what an American spy must have found out after talking to people like Werner Heisenberg about the nuclear weapons program of Nazi Germany, then it might be worth it.I can compare 'The Catcher was a Spy' to a bit more contemporary spy biopic like 'Snowden'. Although completely different in tone and nature, both these spy biopics have something in common. They are about getting to know the mind of the person. Both these movies try to bring out the inner complexities of these people who are quite literally doing a job that demands them to be secretive, deceptive and yet charming.