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“Run Goldine Run”

goldengirlAnd Frankenstein Created Woman? That might have been an alternate title, with German scientist Dr. Serafin (Jurgens) in the role of the creator – he’s a man with a dubious past, and whispers of involvement in Nazi experimentation. Now “rehabilitated” to the US, in what may be a medical version of Operation Paper Clip, he uses an unholy mix of pharmaceuticals and extreme training methods to convert his own daughter, Goldine, into a 6’2″ athletic superwoman, with the aim of completing an unheard of triple crown at the upcoming Moscow Olympics, winning the 100, 200 and 400 metre gold medals. To fund this work, he brings in a consortium of businessmen who aim to capitalize on Goldine’s success with advertising, merchandising, etc. Brought in to advise them, as Goldine is prepared for her first public events, is agent Jack Dryden (Coburn), who gradually realizes the one person not wholeheartedly committed to the entire proceedings, is the runner herself.

This is a curious period piece, which almost feels like it’s set in an alternate universe – as history turned out, Russia invaded Afghanistan and the United States ended up boycotting those 1980 Olympics entirely. This does have some interesting things to say about parents who force their own ambitions onto their offspring, without considering their childrens’ desires, or even best interests, and also about the “shamateurism” of the Olympics. However, this is countered by some odd aspects such as Goldine’s vibrator-based press conference training, whose mere description appears to have strayed in from an entirely different movie. The film would also have benefited from a greater focus on the heroine, and what she wants out of life; that’s an area left almost entirely unexplored, with Goldine left more as a palimpsest for the demands of others.

Even if a couple of inches short of the necessary height at 5’11”, Anton, a former Miss California, certainly makes a striking figure, and the film wastes no opportunity to show off her… er., striking figure. Though when you see her competing, many of those against whom she races were actual athletes, and the difference between their, much more heavily muscled physiques, and her wispy frame is obvious. Bill Conti’s score occasionally threatens to overpower everything, most notably during the musical training montage number, also sung by Anton. However, even if its more of a “Good effort!” than an Olympic champion, it remains one of the few sports movies with a focus on the women’s side of the stadium.

Dir: Joseph Sargent
Star: Susan Anton, James Coburn, Curt Jurgens, Leslie Caron

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