Director: Anthony Harvey
USA / 1979 / 120 min
Intro by Racquet magazine publisher Caitlin Thompson. Available exclusively on Metrograph.com!
One Night Only
A passion project of legendary producer and lifelong tennis fan Robert Evans, Players features Dean Martin’s son, Dean-Paul Martin, as Chris Christensen, a young tennis hustler, and Ali MacGraw as Nicole, the older, engaged woman he falls in love with. After Nicole convinces Chris to try to go pro, both their ensuing love triangle with Nicole’s wealthy fiancé (Maximilian Schell) and Chris’s journey to the top of the tennis circuit are framed by scenes of him at the finals of Wimbledon (filmed center court at the actual 1978 tournament!). Featuring wonderfully choreographed tennis sequences; cameos from real-life stars of the sport, John McEnroe, David Pate, Ilie Năstase, and Guillermo Vilas; and a standout turn by Pancho Gonzales, embodying a version of himself as Chris’s coach, Players captures a specific moment in the worlds of late-’70s tennis and Hollywood filmmaking.