|Bang the Drum Slowly|
|Director:||John D. Hancock|
|Producer:||Maurice and Lois Rosenfield|
Robert De Niro
|Internet Movie Database entry 0069765|
Bang the Drum Slowly is a 1973 film adaptation of the 1956 baseball novel of the same name by Mark Harris. It was previously dramatized in 1956 on the U.S. Steel Hour with Paul Newman and Albert Salmi.
The 1973 film was directed by John D. Hancock and stars Michael Moriarty as Henry ("Author") Wiggen, and a then young unknown actor named Robert De Niro in the role of Bruce Pearson. It was met with box office success and critical acclaim. De Niro's performance in the film and in Mean Streets, released two months later, brought him widespread acclaim. Compared with other roles which have seemed to typecast him as a troubled loner (as in The Deer Hunter, Raging Bull, and Taxi Driver) or a charismatic sociopath (as in , Once Upon A Time In America, Goodfellas and Cape Fear), the Pearson role has been regarded as one of his more tragic and sensitive characters.
The film and book include a fictional card game known as tegwar, which means "The Exciting Game Without Any Rules." It is a game basically designed to separate a sucker from his cash. Henry Wiggen plays this game along with other ballplayers and coaches, to sucker passers-by in the lobby of the team hotel. It is generally believed that Bruce Pearson is too dumb to be able to sucker people, so he is excluded. However, Henry begins to include Bruce in the tegwar games as the story progresses.
In the Family Guy episode titled Brian Does Hollywood, Brian is looking over a script for an X-rated movie and he states "This isn't bad". The producer replies with "It's like Bang The Drum Slowly, except the drum is a chick."