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DVD: Stay Hungry (1976)
Review Rating:   Good  
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1 (NTSC)

May 28, 2004



Genre: Drama / Comedy  
Still stumbling after the death of his parents, a rich lad has trouble closing a real estate deal when love and friendship get in the way of greed.  



Directed by:

Bob Rafelson
Screenplay by: Bob Rafelson,  Charles Gaines
Music by: Bruce Langhorne
Produced by: Bob Rafelson,  Harold Schneider

Jeff Bridges,  Sally Field,  Arnold Schwarzenegger,  R.G. Armstrong,  Robert Englund,  Roger E. Mosely,  Scatman Crothers,  Fannie Flagg,  Joanna Cassidy,  Ed Begley, Jr.,  Joe Spinell,  Dennis Fimple

Film Length: 102 mins
Process/Ratio: 1.85 :1
Anamorphic DVD: Yes
Languages:   English (Mono)
Subtitles:   English,  French,  Spanish
Special Features :  

Audio Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Bob Rafelson, and Actors Jeff Bridges & Sally Field / Video Introduction by Director Bob Rafelson (5:02) / Theatrical trailer for "Stay Hungry"

Comments :

Better known for co-writing the iconic book "Pumping Iron," author and occasional screenwriter Charles Gaines had also written a novel about the "new Old South" - a snobbier level of modern, southern nouveau riche - called "Stay Hungry," in 1975.

Stripping away the social satire and then-unique backdrop of the body-building profession, "Stay Hungry" is really just an old-fashioned romance, in which the hero (Jeff Bridges) can only achieve personal redemption and genuine romance by revealing the original, less-neighborly intentions that brought him to his newfound girlfriend (Sally Field) and buddies (Arnold Schwarzenegger et al).

Of course, the film's real novelty is casting Schwarzenegger in a straight dramatic role, playing a humble athlete who also plays fiddle with the local artists. (Note, however, the cast list, which includes a substantial collection of up-and-coming talent).

For director/co-writer Bob Rafelson (who also provides an informative introduction), and stars Field & Bridges, this marks their first commentary track, and they collectively admit some confusion as to why people would find watching a film with a cast/crew discussion of interest. That said, aside from some modest gaps, the track provides a lively reunion for the trio, whose own careers ascended after this very odd but noteworthy film. Covering the colourful Birmingham locations, casting, and of course the enigmatic, pre-Governor Arnold, "Stay Hungry" can also be seen as a companion piece to Schwazengger's breakthrough appearance in "Pumping Iron." The body-building aspect (which includes cameos by other "Pumping Iron" athletes) eventually takes over the film, adding a really surreal, comedic conclusion that's reminiscent of a wacky "Monkees" episode (of which Rafelson actually directed a few).

Rafelson also discusses his unusual career; which ranged from TV shows, to later producing indie films like "Easy Rider," and the long time gaps between films that have more or less characterized his otherwise intriguing career.


© 2004 Mark R. Hasan

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