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The Loneliest Runner (1976)

A fourteen year old bed wetter runs home from school every day to retrieve the wet sheet his mother has hung from his bedroom window to punish him. He races to get there before any of his ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Curtis as a Youth
...
Arnold Curtis
DeAnn Mears ...
Alice Curtis
...
Nancy Rizzi
...
Himself
...
John Curtis as an Adult
Walker Edmiston ...
Dr. Claymor
Clifford A. Pellow ...
George Sanders (as Cliff Pellow)
...
Fred Dawkins (as Neil Russell)
Randy Faustino ...
Tony
...
Donnie
Robert Hackman ...
Mr. Rizzi
Barbara Collentine ...
Miss King
Herb Vigran ...
Guard
Hank Stohl ...
Assistant Director
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Storyline

A fourteen year old bed wetter runs home from school every day to retrieve the wet sheet his mother has hung from his bedroom window to punish him. He races to get there before any of his friends pass the house. This enforced training prepares him to become a competitive runner. The script, by 'Michael Landon', is autobiographical Written by Frank Wallace <fwallace@nct.org>

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Genres:

Drama | Sport

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Release Date:

20 December 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El corredor solitario  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film is fictional and not literally autobiographical, it is based on some of Michael Landon's own experiences. He wet the bed as a teenager and lived with an extremely unstable, mentally ill mother and an uncaring, indifferent father, who had a very volatile marriage. Consequently, he and his sister, had a very difficult and traumatic childhood which affected him his whole life. See more »

Connections

Featured in Michael Landon: Memories with Laughter and Love (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
70s Heartugging Winner!
7 June 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

stomer Reviews 4.8 out of 5 stars (4) 4.8 out of 5 stars 5 star 3 4 star 1

I saw this TV movie when it first aired back in 1976. Lance Kerwin, in some really good acting, plays early teen John Curtis who has a bed wetting problem. The movie lures you in with sympathy for the boy and it is very effective. Michael Landon plays John Curtis as an adult, an ace runner, who we see breaking through the finish line at the start of the film . While pondering the question of his track abilities during an interview, he stares into a wall clock that triggers a childhood flashback. The story unfolds as we witness young John Curtis rising early and scampering to gather his bedsheets for washing. Johns father(Brian Keith)who internally wants to help his son, lives in a household where he appears to be verbally dominated by his wife. As a father with a secret, he tries with heavy machismo to reach and cure his son. At the age of 12 or 13, John's fear of being ridiculed for bed-wetting by his parents and friends is monumental, and understandably so. He desperately tries though shear will and lack of sleep to end or hide his condition to please his parents. You really feel his pain.

This may all sound like a boring or outdated topic, but stay with it to see a family dynamic exposed and some great acting as well by Brian Keith. John obviously has a condition that can't be helped. You could almost apply any embarrassing ailment, or even an addiction to the story and get a good message from it. His mother is downright mean and determined to embarrass her son by hanging his urine stained bed sheets out the window for all his friends and neighbors to see. The film takes place in the 50s so you can somewhat understand the naivete'. To avoid ridicule John bolts home from school everyday to take the sheets in before they can be seen. Doing this daily, he develops great speed and is recognized by the school track coach as a standout. A wonderful and eventually forceful showing of compassion by dad makes it all worthwhile. As we return to the adult John Curtis at the films end, he makes a bittersweet and humbling statement (in true Landon fashion). The Loneliest Runner is a surprisingly interesting and entertaining movie. If your in the mood to stir up emotions, this well done and probably forgotten seventies TV movie will do it. Watching it as a parent by yourself could be a learning experience. The Loneliest Runner deserves a quality DVD release.


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