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The World's Greatest Athlete (1973)

aka The World's Greatest Athlete

Directed By: 
Written By:  Writer details not available
Details: 93 mins · English · G (USA)

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Plot:

In a series of establishing shots, Sam Archer (Amos) and his assistant Milo Jackson (Conway) are depicted as coaches at the fictitious Merrivale College; their teams invariably lose. A series of plot coincidences sends the pair to Africa, where they catch sight with their Safari guide Morumba (Don Pedro Colley) of the Tarzan-like Nanu, who can outrun a cheetah in full bound.

Seeing this, the coaching staff quickly whip out their recruitment pen and papers, but soon fall (literally) into the clutches of Nanu's godfather, spiritual leader Gazenga (Browne) whose assistant (Clarence Muse) remains in Africa. Nanu, it develops, is an orphan and an innocent child of the bush. Gazenga believes that throwing Nanu into the world of competitive United States college athletics would interfere with his spiritual development.

Despite Gazenga's concerns, the ambitious coaches persuade Nanu to join the Merrivale College program. From this point forward, the plot is driven by a combination of slapstick and suspense, for Nanu's destiny as the World's Greatest Athlete will annoy several powerful people who are used to getting their way.

Nanu's innocence, Archer's scheming, Jackson's ineptitude, Gazenga's outraged wisdom, and the Machiavellian plotting of the villains all play roles in the action as the movie heads toward the final track meet. The atmosphere of American competition does indeed threaten Nanu, but he is saved from disintegration by love interest Jane Douglas (Haddon). Jane and Nanu's budding relationship angers rival Leopold Maxwell (Danny Goldman), whose attempts to sabotage the budding star build toward a crescendo as the ultimate competition approaches. The climactic track meet is peppered with commentary by ABC-TV sportscaster Howard Cosell, playing himself.

The movie ends with a framing device in which the hapless coaches are depicted trying to recruit a new athletic phenomenon, this time in China.

Release Dates:

DVD : 2005-08-02