Newsletter no. 18 – Monday 4 October, 2021

This is the web-based version of Stretch Therapy Newsletter no. 18

The Comeback, 1981, directed by Kit Laughlin – a blast from Kit's past

the comeback
Here's a piece from the Australian National Film and Sound Archive: https://www.nfsa.gov.au/latest/comeback-arnold-schwarzenegger.

This piece includes two excerpts from the last remaining copy of the original film.

A note from the director

Imagine a world where the personal computer was just being born, where the "portable phone" was the size and weight of a brick, and came with its own shoulder strap, and imagine shooting a documentary on 16 millimetre film, because digital video cameras hadn't been invented yet. And, imagine a film crew having full access to the competitors' training; the director interviewing a number of the contestants; and, spending night and day with the competitors for the week leading up to the competition. Then imagine shooting the 1980 Mr Olympia competition at the Sydney Opera House with six film cameras. Welcome to The Comeback.

A finalist at the 1981 Sydney Film Festival, mentioned with merit in the Jury Prize category, The Comeback was shown at the Filmex Festival in Los Angeles as a special, late entry, from where it was stolen and put to air three times on ABC Sports television without permission – imagine fighting and winning a legal battle with a large company in New York, from Australia. This is the untold story of The Comeback.

Can you view the whole, original film?

The original version of the film, with its original music, including Talking Heads, is not able to be viewed anywhere, except at the National Film and Sound Archive if they screen the original copy that they hold. A version of the documentary was ripped off and is available for viewing on YouTube, with the title The Comeback: Total Rebuild – but, the copyright-free music is very different to the original film's, and the opening titles have been deleted (and other changes may have been made, too).