Revisiting Nora Ephron on the Artifice of the ‘Battle of the Sexes’

Published to The Cut on August 25, 2017

The “Fall Preview” package in New York’s current issue spotlights the most anticipated new things of the season, and among the movie highlights for September is Battle of the Sexes, a comedy about the mad 1973 tennis match in which Billie Jean King, the reigning Wimbledon singles champion two years running, played an exhibition match against Bobby Riggs, the trash-talking Wimbledon men’s champ of 1939. (Emma Stone and Steve Carell will star in the film.) The quasi-championship, aired in prime time on ABC, was a circus. King was borne onto the court on a litter, lifted by beefy shirtless guys; Riggs presented her with a giant Sugar Daddy lollipop, whose corporate logo also appeared on his jacket. She beat him 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, in what was played in the press as a feminist victory over an unrepentant male chauvinist.

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