Goldengirl (1979) Scorpion / Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review
Goldengirl is pretty effective in its 105 minute form with its fairly dramatic and pointed effort at depicting an athlete as a pawn in the greater glory of science. While it does get a little clichéd at times, the film has an interesting point of view with Anton’s affecting performance as the “golden girl.”
A genetic test subject becomes an Olympic runner gold medal hopeful … with complications.
A German neo Nazi doctor named Serafin (Curd Jurgens from The Spy Who Loved Me) is ready to unveil to the world his greatest creation: A 6 foot 2 blonde Amazon athlete he has bestowed with nearly superhuman prowess, his “daughter” Goldine (Susan Anton) who he proposes will win three gold medals for running at the Olympics in Moscow. He hires a PR team to help him navigate the stress of showcasing Goldine to a world that has never seen her before, and the PR team, led by a seasoned veteran of the biz named Dryden (James Coburn), formulates a plan on how they can make tens of millions of dollars from Goldine’s rapid rise to success and stardom by the time she wins her first gold medal. When she starts entering into competitions, she quickly begins making all the qualifiers and sets new records, but Dryden is the first to realize that all is not right with Goldine: She is completely at the will and mercy of her “father,” who is only concerned with showcasing the medical marvel that she is, not caring that she’s basically just his prized racehorse. Goldine also has some physical problems; with her striving to become the best and greatest, she suddenly begins exhibiting physical ailments, and an unexpected onset of diabetes due to the hormones her father injected her with when she was growing up. With the Olympics coming up, Goldine is either destined for greatness … or a complete physical and mental breakdown in front of the whole world to see.
Based on a novel and intended as a theatrical feature first, and then a 4-hour miniseries, Goldengirl is pretty effective in its 105 minute form with its fairly dramatic and pointed effort at depicting an athlete as a pawn in the greater glory of science. While it does get a little clichéd at times, the film has an interesting point of view with Anton’s affecting performance as the “golden girl” who doesn’t really have a choice in her destiny. While Anton was pretty green as an actress, she does what’s written on the page and a little extra to convey her plight, if shining a little too much soft light her way to illuminate her model-quality beauty. With some profanity and some nudity, the film still manages to feel like a movie-of-the-week with a little extra cinematic flare (Bill Conti did the score, for example), and so it would be interesting to have seen a longer cut of the film. Directed by Joseph Sargent.
Scorpion and Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray edition of the film contains a new 4K restoration, a new on-camera interview (conducted via Zoom or Skype) with star Anton, and some more bonus features, including another interview with a supporting actor and a new commentary by two film historians, and more.