King of the Hill
Donald Brittain: Writer, filmmaker, storyteller. - A selection by Adam Symansky

King of the Hill

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This feature documentary follows one of the greatest Canadian baseball players of all time, Ferguson Jenkins, through the 1972-1973 season. From the hope and innocence of spring training to the dog days of an August slump, the camera gets up close and personal at the home plate and records the intimate chatter on the mound, in the dugout and in the locker room. It provides a glimpse into the rewards and pressures of sports stardom and the easy camaraderie of the quintessential summer sport.

This film contains scenes of nudity and/or sexuality. Viewer discretion is advised.

Marrin Canell was a great friend of Don's and worked with him on several films. The problem when you become really good friends is that you tend to become less and less critical of your friend. You know the guy's going to pull it off and you don't want to be brutal. Marrin felt he was too close to Donald to be an effective editor or producer for him, but one thing they shared was a love of baseball.

Donald loved the game so much he invented a solitaire card game based on baseball. When he was near death, that's what he would do a lot of the time. He loved the world of baseball; he loved the Expos.

For King of the Hill, they filmed two seasons. But they couldn't get access to the team for the second season, so they had to make the first season work for both. It's an interesting story, as a lot of that film is faked.

Adam Symansky
From the playlist: Donald Brittain: Writer, filmmaker, storyteller.

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Credits
  • director
    William Canning
    Donald Brittain
  • producer
    William Canning
  • executive producer
    Colin Low
  • script
    Donald Brittain
  • narrator
    Donald Brittain
  • photography
    David De Volpi
  • sound
    Hans Oomes
  • editing
    Marrin Canell
  • sound editing
    Karl Duplessis
    André Galbrand
    Roger Hart
  • re-recording
    Jean-Pierre Joutel
    Michel Descombes
  • music
    Eldon Rathburn

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  • BrendaKilgour

    "For a brief time?" Six consecutive 20-win seasons on what were some pretty spotty teams in a home park that was a hitter's dream? I believe if you check your records you will see that Mr Jenkins has the best lifetime walks-to-strikeouts ratio of any pitcher who threw more than 1,000 innings. One of the greatest control pitchers of all time. Imagine how many wins he would have had pitching for Oakland or Cincinnati or the Mets in the same time frame. As it stands, 284 is more than HOF-worthy.

    BrendaKilgour, 2 Aug 2015
  • Brave

    Ferguson Jenkins great athlete also seemed like a solid guy. Class act.

    Brave, 22 Apr 2015
  • mdeschenes

    Awesome

    mdeschenes, 13 May 2014
  • BigCaddyJC

    Fergie Jenkins ,playing in a leagiue full of real life superstars, was ,for a brief time, as good as there was in mlb. this film comes in on a career of a full-fledged african-canadian superstar! In a second city and a very good but unnoticed Chicago cubs franchise fergie was the teams very best player. please take a look back at one of your sons of Canada and be transfixed.

    BigCaddyJC, 29 Sep 2010