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The Strongest Man in the World

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Walt Disney’s The Strongest Man in the World, starring  Kurt Russell, Joe Flynn, Eve Arden, Cesar Romero, Phil Silvers, Dick Van Patten

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In The Strongest Man in the World,  Medfield College science major Dexter Riley (Kurt Russell) and his classmates have been working on a new vitamin compound when a lab accident creates a supercharged mix that ends up in Dexter’s cereal box! After breakfast the next morning, Dexter is transformed, possessing a superhuman strength that levels lampposts and destroys doorknobs. The powerful formula comes to the attention of the college dean and two rival cereal companies, touching off a hilarious chain of events. Ultimate control of the moneymaking formula rides on a weight lifting match between the pitifully small Medfield team and the superior State challengers. It’s a mixture of fun, comedy, and adventure that will have everyone exploding with laughter!

Editorial review of The Strongest Man in the World

Walt Disney's The Strongest Man in the World, starring Kurt Russell, Joe Flynn, Eve Arden, Cesar Romero, Phil Silvers

Once again Dexter Riley (a young Kurt Russell) and his science lab pals astound and confound Medfield College’s head dean when their latest concoction might either save the struggling institution from bankruptcy or get the top-level staff fired. In this third of the four Medfield films, Riley accidentally ingests a vitamin compound that gives him superhuman strength, leading to sponsorship by a cereal company and possible defeat of a rival university in a weightlifting contest.

Although today Medfield’s team would be disqualified for drug use, in this pre-steroid scandal picture it’s the scheming adults who are the bad guys. Thanks to a Medfield Board of Directors traitor (an amusingly villainous Dick Van  Patten), the competing sponsor sends a couple of bungling burglars (one played by Cesar Romero) to steal the formula. Kidnapping, hypnosis, and a down-to-the-wire weightlifting finale mark this 92-minute, G-rated film, which is short on subtlety but long on wholesomeness. Medfield is losing badly when Dexter realizes his compound, not the other student’s, is the secret to his strength, and he leads his team to victory. The movie was Joe Flynn’s last on-screen appearance. A Disney regular, he appeared in the films HERBIE THE LOVE BUG, THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES, and NOW YOU SEE HIM, NOW YOU DON’T, among others, and was the voice of Mr. Snoops in the 1975 flick THE RESCUERS, released two years after his death. Kids as young as 4 will enjoy the weightlifting and burglary antics, but the school politics and corporate warfare subplots will lose them temporarily. –Kimberly Heinrichs

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