Monday, December 9, 2013

Pumping Iron (1977)

SPOILER WARNING!!! This post spoils documentary Pumping Iron (1977).

This is first documentary I have written about. I didn't plan to do this post, but when I watched the movie, I had to write about it. This was shot before Arnold Schwarzenegger became movie star and has gained cult movie status after he starred Terminator (1982) and Conan the Barbarian (1984). Without Arnold's success in movies, this would have been obscure bodybuilding documentary. Another main player in this documentary is Lou Ferrigno, who is best known from 70's Hulk tv-series.

Documentary follows Arnold, Lou and few another bodybuilders as they train and compete in 1975 Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe. Arnold has won five Mr. Olympia titles and is going for his sixth title before retiring. Lou is young challenger, who has won Mr. Universe twice and is now going for big price. Arnold is shown as cold calculating guy, who is ready to do anything to win. He brags, how he could give bad advises for his friend and tells, how he didn't let his father's death affect his training. It mattered as much as someone stealing his car would matter. Nothing.

Lou is regular family boy, who is trained by his father. Lou is not that much into mind games. He just trains to be the best and believes that it is enough. If you want to see good vs evil battle here, Lou is the good guy and Arnold is villain. I think this is Arnold's best villain role. Main part of movie is build around Lou and Arnold. But reality didn't co-operate with film makers. Lou and Arnold didn't finnish first and second. During competition we see briefly Serge Nubret, who became second in competition. He also had film career.

Best part of movie is Arnold telling his philosophy. It is something he wouldn't say today. Probably he has changed his philosophy since. Here he is young bodybuilding superstar living in the world, where everyone around him thinks he is greatest thing ever existed. During competition we see how Arnold plays mind games with another competitors. He is mentally above the rest of the competitors. He is biggest bodybuilding star ever and he knows that. And others know that too. That is why he wins this competition.

Movie begins with Mr. Universe competitors. That is not as interesting as parts with Lou and Arnold. This part follows amateur body builder Mike Katz, who becomes fourth in competition. Competition is won by Ken Weller, who movie shows as jerk, who makes pranks to others to make them lose their concentration. Mr. Universe part end into emotional scene in which Mike Katz goes to congratulate Ken, who hide his shirt during the competition. We don't see them meeting. We see Mike waiting  Ken to come from stage. Good guys don't win in this movie, because this is documentary.

This is good documentary, but only reason we still know it, is that Arnold Schwarzenegger is in it.

No comments:

Post a Comment