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The Comeback (1980)

 -  Documentary | Action
6.0
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After an absence of five years, six times Mr Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a comeback and attempts to take the World Body Building Championship for the 7th time.

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After an absence of five years, six times Mr Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger makes a comeback and attempts to take the World Body Building Championship for the 7th time.

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Some facts about this 1980 cinema verité documentary
28 October 2007 | by See all my reviews

The director of this film is Kit Laughlin, at the time a live TV director at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Kit is into physical and mental fitness (and still is) and heard that Arnie would be competing. Freelance editor Geoff Bennett edited the film. He is not Paul Graham's partner as someone has reported. This documentary came together very quickly with very little financing. The 16mm film stock was paid for with credit cards and the camera gear and processing on credit. The bodybuilders all arrived in Sydney two weeks ahead of the competition and the four man crew chased all sixteen competitors, quickly narrowing the target to four, including Arnie the comeback king, Tom Platz the philosophical 'Jonathon Livingston Seagull' dude, and Frank Zane the reigning world champion. In the final cut, the contrast between Arnie's take on things and Tom's seemed to be enough for the film. There is conjecture about the contest being rigged, but the filmmakers were unaware of this. The outcome was dramatically satisfying for the filmmakers who felt that the subject matter ended up being a fine example of personal philosophies being bulldozed by big business. Arnie had been retired for five years and was getting pumped up for his upcoming first big screen role as Conan. His friends convinced him to give it another shot. The final competition was photographed by four cameramen, two sound recordists, their girlfriends, and any equipment that could be mustered on the cheap. Most of this young crew were graduates of AFTRS (Australian Film, TV & Radio School) and have moved on to national and international success. It's not 'Pumping Iron' but all in all, a very credible effort with a strong structure for a cinema verité project.


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