Taglines: Everybody’s doing it.
Investigative sports journalist veteran Steve Taggart is working on his latest story – an inside look at professional gambling. The subject of his piece is a man he calls Mr. Green, a degenerate gambler who indirectly ruined his family and yet still can’t stop gambling or betting. His editor loves the story but what he doesn’t know is that Mr. Green is actually Taggart himself.
In order to get more inside info about his topic, Taggart visits various gambling venues and interviews several people including a friendly casino manager and his top cocktail waitress Flo, who was once a gambling addict herself. However, Taggart has bigger problems than dealing with his addiction and finishing his assignment, since his loan shark is threatening to harm his little daughter, who lives in a nice boarding school, unless he pays up his growing debt. Taggart tries to deal with everything his own way – with more gambling.
Fever Pitch is a 1985 American drama film starring Ryan O’Neal, and written and directed by Richard Brooks. This turned out to be the final film for Brooks, director of such acclaimed pictures as Blackboard Jungle, Elmer Gantry, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and In Cold Blood. Co-starring in the film were Giancarlo Giannini, Chad Everett, John Saxon and Catherine Hicks. The original music score was composed by Thomas Dolby.
About the Story
Sports writer Steve Taggart (O’Neal) volunteers to do a series of articles for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner about a compulsive gambler he calls “Mr. Green”…who is, in fact, himself. Taggart becomes obsessed with gambling, which lands him deeply into debt. He compounds his money and gambling problems by dealing with associated loan sharks, including the dangerous L.A. bookmaker known as “The Dutchman” (Chad Everett).
Taggart soon learns that a local pro football quarterback, whose story he covers, is also on the Dutchman’s payroll – as a means of cutting his own gambling debts. Taggart journeys to Las Vegas for a field report on his gambling series; through a casino owner he meets a sexy casino cocktail hostess named Flo (Catherine Hicks). Loving the tables, he gambles with Flo at roulette and wins, instead of taking her to bed.In Las Vegas Taggart also checks out assorted Las Vegas bookmakers, including Leroy.
He meets various Vegas gambling and business figures, including famed Las Vegas Sun publisher Hank Greenspun, for more insight into the gambling world. He is unaware that the Dutchman’s tough guy enforcer, “Panama Hat” is closely following him until the Hat William Smith confronts him at the hotel pool as Taggart attempts to relax on a chaise lounge. Panama Hat tells Taggart to return to Los Angeles immediately and settle up with the Dutchman, or there will be dire consequences.
Taggart’s risk-addiction and perennial gambling money-losses ultimately spill over into his personal life. After a day trip to Knott’s Berry Farm Taggart brings his young daughter (Bridgette Andersen) to Hollywood Park; At the track pressbox, they meet famed newspaper sportswriters Jim Murray and Alan Malamud. Taggart is trying to stop gambling-but at the racetrack he is physically assaulted by a track-goer to whom he owes money. Reporting to work the next day at the Herald Examiner, his newspaper editor (John Saxon) says he loves the “Mr. Green” series which the newspaper has been running, enough so that Saxon advances Taggart $10,000 dollars for “Mr. Green” to use as seed money for more gambling.
Fever Pitch (1985)
Directed by: Richard Brooks
Starring: Ryan O’Neal, Catherine Hicks, Giancarlo Giannini, Bridgette Andersen, Chad Everett, John Saxon, Hank Greenspun, Patrick Cassidy
Screenplay by: Richard Brooks
Production Design by: Ray Storey
Cinematography by: William A. Fraker
Film Editing by: Jeff Jones
Art Department: Joe Wood
Music by: Thomas Dolby
Distributed by: Metro Goldwyn Mayer, United Artists
Release Date: November 22, 1985