T Nation

The Comeback

Am I missing something here? I’ve just heard that a video called ‘The Comeback’ exists.
It supposedly stars Arnold among several other classic bodybuilders. Does anyone have this film, or know how I can get my hands on it?

This is what I found:

summary: The Schwarzenegger film no-one knows about!

Made shortly after THE JAYNE MANSFIELD STORY and 18 months before CONAN THE BARBARIAN, THE COMEBACK, a wholly Australian flick was a semi- documentary styled film intending to chroncicle Arnie's attempts to lift a seventh Mr Olympia title at a time he had already declared his retirement from active competition. He had in fact been away from the sport for an incredible five years. Obviously intended as another PUMPING IRON, this totally underwhelming production, hopelessly biased in Schwarzenegger's favor, glosses over assertions that the competition (held in Australia that year) was rigged and that his subsequent regaining of the title may not have been altogether kosher. The film was produced by Paul Graham who at the time was the current Australian Mr Universe and who hosted Schwarzenegger during much of his stay in Australia. His partner Geoff Bennett edited THE COMEBACK, which should not be confused with the British horror film of the same name, and which starred crooner Jack Jones just eighteen months earlier.

Don't know if you can buy it though.

I saw it for sale on e-bay for 300 bucks.

It pops up from various dealers from time to time. Don’t bother! It’s a waste of money. Little more than a poorly done promo piece. Chronicles his preperation for the Olympia screw job. By the time Arnold appeared in it, he was well in to his Hollywood persona, overly concerned with how he’s depicted and showbiz phoney. After viewing it, I felt like I had just watched an “Entertainment Tonight” segment.

I know that you can buy it from an Australian company called GMV. They have a site that specialises in new and old muscle videos - www.gmv.com.au I think off hand. It cost’s about 40 Aussie dollars, so it’s probably around 20 US dollars with shipping.

As it happens I just saw this flick for the first time. (Coincidence, eh?) Here’s my impression of it, for what it’s worth:


First, it is an underwhelming production. Production values are not that great, and the copy I saw was a bit grainy compared to what we’re used to today. That said, it’s probably the best film you’re ever going to see of the '80 Olympia, so if you’re curious this is about as good as it gets.


Arnold didn’t come across as particularly phony to me. He said a lot of the things that he said earlier in Pumping Iron and in various interviews around that time, so if he was into his “showbiz persona”, at least he was consistent.


It’s true that the film doesn’t present anything like a balanced perspective. There are almost no shots of Mentzer or Coe, for example, and no one interviews Frank Zane or any of the other contestants except for Tom Platz (who was very pro-Arnold in his comments). Of course, in order to include Mentzer, et al’s comments, it would have been legally necessary to get an okay from him - something that obviously wasn’t going to happen. So that may have been a contributing factor.


There’s almost as much of Platz as there is of Arnold, and you get to see both his and Zane’s full posing routines, as well as some shots of Samir Bannout. So if you like those guys…


Finally, after looking at the video, I have to say that I think Arnold deserved the victory. No, he wasn’t as overwhelming as he had been back in the 70’s. On the other hand, no one else looked any better than he did, and Arnold was, of course, bigger. Also, Bill Pearl was (from comments in the video) apparently not looking to see him win, and Pearl was the head judge at the time. So that should have been a factor against, yet Arnold pulled it off.


Not trying to start an Arnie love-fest here, just calling it the way it looked to me. Anyway, if you’re an Arnold fan, I think the movie is probably worth the time and trouble to track down.

Now, it would be interesting to see this just for Platz, Zane and Bannout. And it’s interesting on your comment that Arnold deserved to win. Especially when there had/has been SO much controversy over the “low” placings of Platz and Mentzer. VEWY interesting indeed.

Me thinks I should see this thing...

Well, to be honest there isn’t much of Bannout. Just a couple of shots of him check-posing with Platz. If you’re a Samir fan (and I know you are), a much better video is the 1984 “Road to the Olympia”, which has a lot of him in it.


Still, there’s a ton load of Platz and, as I said before, Zane’s routine. I personally didn’t think that Platz should have placed any higher than he did. His upper body was small compared to most of the other competitors and he wasn’t that cut. (In 1981, of course, it was a very different story.)


As for Mentzer, yes, I felt that he should have placed higher. I would have put the placings at 1) Arnold, 2-3)Mentzer/Zane, 4-5) Coe/Dickerson. The main reason being that Coe had no abs at the time and Dickerson’s biceps were small. (This BTW isn’t based on the film, but on what I remember feeling at the time when I saw the contest coverage in the mags.)

OH thats right! The following year, Platz had improved so much, that that’s why he’s called the “Uncrowned Mr. Olympia” - correct? And 1981 was the year that Franco won. And 1982 was the year that Dickerson won it (finally got them lagging biceps up to par). Or maybe I just “flip flopped” their winning years…

But, wow: Now I have to see this. If you feel that Mentzer should have been 2nd/3rd - than I gotta take a gander. Especially now that both Mentzers have passed on to that great big gym in the sky. Wild. And I'm a Bannout fan cuz I just love his symmetry. Wonderful. And was very happy to see him win the '83 Olympia. Gosh, sorry - I'm just reminiscing about "the good old days".

Wow again and thanks, char-dawg!