Sunday, June 21, 2015

The 500-Pound Jerk (1973)

The 500-Pound Jerk tells the story of Tennessee hillbilly muscleman Hughie Rae Feather (played by former NFL star Alex Karras), whose local reputation for lifting weights brings him to the attention of struggling ad executive Gil Davenport (James Franciscus). Davenport trains Feather to compete in the 1972 Olympics, not only managing his training but every aspect of his personal life as well. But things get complicated when the strongman falls in love with a beautiful Russian gymnast named Natalya (played by Claudia Butenuth), creating an international incident. First broadcast a few months after the actual 1972 Olympics, the movie features stock footage of the real Olympic games, in which real life Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut captured the hearts of the world. Howard Cossell has a cameo role, and Hope Lange plays Davenport's long-suffering girlfriend, a news reporter covering the Olympics.