(out of 5)
Tennis player Renée Richards made history when she appeared on the courts of the 1976 U.S. Open and insisted she be allowed to play along with other female competitors. The controversy was over the fact that Richards was actually born Richard Raskind and, during a successful career as an opthalmologist, had undergone gender reassignment surgery. Her appearance on the tennis court, over six feet tall and with quite a mighty swing, inspired a myriad of reactions from competitors, commentators and audiences; this got no quieter when Richards made history by denying the USTA the right to put her through chromosome testing before being allowed to play as a woman. This charged but humorous documentary takes us through Richards’ entire life and includes not only her triumphs on the tennis court but her personal tragedies at home, where a relationship with her son has turned sour due to years of resentment and missed communication between them that have manifested themselves as the young man’s battles with addiction. Interview subjects include Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Virginia Wade, and the film features a terrific look into the world of tennis as it existed in the seventies.
Directed by Eric Drath
Screenplay by Aaron Cohen, Eric Drath
Cinematography by James Fideler
Music by Nathan Halpern
Cast Tags: Arleen Larzelere, Arthur Ashe, Barbara Krohn, Betty Ann Stewart,Betty Stove, Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs, Bud Collins, Caroline Stoll, Cathy Beene, Charles Ihlenfeld, Chris Evert, Dick Carlson, Donald Rubell, Frank Froehling, Gene Scott, George Gowen, Herb Fitzgibbon, Jack Dodick, Janet Newberry Howe, John McEnroe, John Poster, Josephine Von Hipple, Leslie Pollack, Martina Navratilova, Mary Carillo, Meghan Stabler, Michael Rosen, Neil Amdur, Nicholas Raskind, Philis Raskind-Anderson, Renée Richards, Richard C. Granato, Robert S. Cohen, Robin Harris, Suzanne Geller, Toni Moss, Virginia Wade, Yvonne Pollack