Faith

This sports drama is focused on two Olympic runners. Harold Abraham’s competitor at the 1924 Paris Olympics is the Scottish sprinter and rugby player Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson). Accomplished sprinter he may be, but Abrahams (Ben Cross) has a chip on his shoulder. He has the unattractive trait of smoldering anger, but he expresses his frustration in measure, and to his fiancée, opera singer Sybil Gordon (Alice Krige). His anger stems from how people have treated Jews like himself and his father. In his frustration, Abraham is out to show the world that Jews are the winners and not the losers. On the other hand, the problem for Eric Liddell is that he must run his heat on the Sabbath day, which is forbidden by his faith. However, Liddell says that God made him with the ability to run fast and to not run would be to hold God in contempt. I was impressed by the raising of the film’s central problem, which takes a matter of faith to heart, and one which has challenged many Christian hearts—can a Christian work on the Sabbath? Keeping the Sabbath was a requirement for Old Testament Jews, but is it a requirement for New Testament Christians? Yet, both testaments are in the Christian Bible. I was impressed by how the matter was resolved which shows a Christian running the race of faith.

Loss and gain

A moving redemptive moment, the film The Black Stallion (1979), about a boy who survives a shipwreck with the help of Black (the stallion). Then, under the training of Henry Dailey (Mickey Rooney) the boy and the horse enter a prestigious horse race. We can see how the boy was given redemption on a very practical level, in The Black Stallion, yet there is also another level of redemption, that of the soul and broken human nature.

Muppet power

On a road trip, but not to nowhere.

* * 1/2

When the best thing in a movie is its subject then you know the rest of the movie pales in comparison. The Muppets, from the television series, are the best thing in their first feature film, The Muppet Movie, from 1979.

They are a colorful bunch, performed by Jim Henson, Frank Oz. Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, and Dave Golez who all have more than one role to attend to. The characterizations are all wonderfully amusing. The main ones are Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and Fozzie Bear, but lots of people find the supporting Muppets just as amusing if not more so.

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Updating Oz

Better than The Four Tops?

*

Unfortunately updated from the original Wizard of Oz fantasy setting for a younger, more contemporary audience, the yellow brick road became the very urbane yellow brick road, in the very modern sounding The Wiz (1978), there was a lot of heart if not much else in Dorothy’s latest journey, incarnated as a dullish production.

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