Aperture Cinema - Winston Salem, NC | The Spy Behind Home Plate
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The Spy Behind Home Plate

Now Showing
About This Project

Fri, August 16: 6:45
Sat, August 17: 1:45, 6:45
Sun, August 18: 1:45**, 6:45
Mon, August 19: 6:45
Tues, August 20: 6:45
Wed, August 21: 6:45 w/ dialogues
Thurs, August 22: 6:45

** please enjoy a q&a following the Sunday 1:45pm screening with special guest Neil Goldstein (read Neil’s amazing story and connection to Moe Berg below under film description.)

screening in petit a/

Aviva Kempner’s The Spy Behind Home Plate is the first feature-length documentary to tell the real story of Morris “Moe” Berg, the enigmatic and brilliant Jewish baseball player turned spy. Berg caught and fielded in the major leagues during baseball’s Golden Age in the 1920s and 1930s. But very few people know that Berg also worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), spying in Europe and playing a prominent role in America’s efforts to undermine the German atomic bomb program during WWII. The Spy Behind Home Plate reveals the life of this unknown Jewish hero through rare historical footage and photographs as well as revealing interviews with an All-Star roster of celebrities and other individuals from the worlds of sports, spycraft, and history. Berg may have had only a .243 batting average during his 15-year major league career, but it was the stats he collected for the OSS that made him a most valuable player to his country during World War II.

Not Rated, 98 minutes

Moe Berg was an extraordinary person. A ball player who, during his life in the game, played with and befriended baseball’s greatest stars and then, after Pearl Harbor, left the diamond to quietly become America’s most significant undercover atomic spy during WW2. For nearly 40 years the story of Moe Berg has been a part of Neil Goldstein’s life. Although he learned of the catcher while attending Walter Johnson High School, outside Washington, DC it was not until he lived in Los Angeles that his passion for Moe’s story began.

While developing a feature film about the untold story of the spy our nation must have had, charged with a mission behind the lines, to find and destroy the German Atom Bomb, Moe, in his unsuspecting way, crept back into Neil’s focus. One evening, after a neighborhood watch meeting, when asked about his current project, Neil told the story of an Ivy League athlete, recruited by the OSS to find the German Atom Bomb. A neighbor stopped him and exclaimed, “That sounds like my cousin!” Amazing, but not as amazing as the content of over two dozen interviews with Moe’s friends and coworkers, as diverse as spies, a Nobel Laureate, famous ball players, rare book dealers, celebrities, and train conductors.

Many of these same characters make Moe’s incredible stranger-than-fiction story come to life in Aviva Kempner’s unbelievable but absolutely true documentary, THE SPY BEHING HOME PLATE. It’s a classic documentary made exceptionally well. Neil’s happy some of the wonderful people he interviewed over three decades ago made the final cut. Spanning fifty years in communication and education, Mr. Goldstein has produced or directed close to one hundred television, radio and theatrical dramas, documentaries, training films and entertainment specials. Neil is a retired member of both academies of Television Arts and Sciences, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and the Director’s Guild of America. He recently retired as Associate Professor and Coordinator for the Communication Program at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia.

Neil now lives in Greensboro, in a house he recently renovated. After giving his Berg files to Princeton, and helping Aviva get access to the material, Neil thought the story that he lived with was finally over. The story though, was not over. During the renovation of his new home, he was shown an old picture that looked like a catcher in a crouch painted behind the siding on an old back porch wall. That picture started another serendipitous adventure.

Neighbors told Neil that a hall of fame catcher, Rick Farrell once lived in the house. It was Rick Farrell who suggested that Babe Ruth take Moe on his trip to Japan where, not surprisingly, Moe learns Japanese, teaches baseball as a cover and beings a mission to master his new craft: Spy It turns that neither of the Farrell Brothers lived there, but their nephew, another catcher in Triad’s most illustrious baseball family, did. You just never know how or where connections to Moe might turn up next.