I saw this film many years ago and it blew my mind, and I have never seen film in the same light since. It took a long time for me to realise why. I think every film I had ever seen till then had been narrative, and I didn't know there could be a gripping film that didn't tell a story - that's what films did, tell a story. Muscle Beach is fascinating, but no story. I don't mean it has no structure - it has a very tight structure, but it is like a piece of music, in three movements - allegro, andante, allegro vivace (or something) The film was shot on a beach in ?California, concentrating on a set of (very) amateur athletes and body-builders. The score is written and sung by Earl Robinson, and the words and music complement (and sometimes contradict) the screen action, pithily and wittily (who but Robinson would rhyme 'therapeutical' with 'the body beautiful'?) This film gave me the most influential twenty minutes of my life. Not everybody sees it that way - my friends didn't know what I was on about - but try it and see for yourself.
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