The Strongest Man in the World (1975)

Article #1664 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-4-2005
Posting Date: 3-3-2006
Directed by Vincent McEveety
Featuring Kurt Russell, Joe Flynn, Eve Arden

When an accident in a campus laboratory accidentally creates a potion that causes super-strength, the dean decides to pull the college out of its financial woes by selling the formula to a cereal company.

I used to love these Disney “shopping cart” when I was a kid, but when I watch them nowadays, I often find myself wishing that I hadn’t. In a sense, I can’t really be fair to them; they were meant for kids and are best enjoyed when you’re that age. I found myself quite bored with this one; I find it turgidly paced for what is supposed to be a wild and crazy comedy, the jokes are too obvious and often ill-conceived (why does Joe Flynn need to swing from the chandeliers to demonstrate he has super strength?). By the time this one was made, they were dated as well; the ages of the actors and the hairstyles of the students are the only clues you have that this movie wasn’t made in the early sixties. Furthermore, unlike an earlier film in the series (NOW YOU SEE HIM, NOW YOU DON’T), it really makes pretty weak use of the central gimmick. The greatest strength of the movie is having the chance to see so many familiar and likable actors all in one place; Kurt Russell, Joe Flynn, Eve Arden, Cesar Romero, Phil Silvers, Dick Van Patten, Harold Gould, Richard Bakalyan, William Schallert, Benson Fong and James Gregory are all on hand, and that’s not counting the familiar faces I can’t put a name to. Yes, I’d probably love it if I was a kid, but even then, I suspect that there would be a lot of other movies (of the “shopping cart” and “non-shopping cart” varieties) I would love a lot more.


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