Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1975. Universal Pictures, Filmways Pictures. Screenplay by David Seltzer, based on the book A Long Way Up by E.G. Valens. Cinematography by David M. Walsh. Produced by Edward S. Feldman. Music by Charles Fox. Production Design by John DeCuir. Costume Design by Grady Hunt. Film Editing by Eve Newman. Academy Awards 1975. Golden Globe Awards 1975.
Based on the true story of Jill Kinmont, who suffered injuries that rendered her paralyzed from the neck down during a skiing accident while competing to qualify for the US Olympic team. Marilyn Hassett stars, quite appealingly, as the spunky young woman who could never be prevented from getting her own way, so much so that even when physical reality prevents her from achieving her goals she still insists on finding a way to make her life active and fulfilling. Meanwhile, as if her life had a commitment to soap opera, her best friend (Belinda Montgomery, who is wonderful) contracts polio and the two of them end up helping each other through rehab. The filmmakers do everything in their power to create a saintly, Hallmark-style biopic of this young woman, making for a film that is enjoyably touching but, thanks to a complete lack of irony, also weakly simplistic and naïve. Beau Bridges lends a lot of fresh charm as the wild-card ski celebrity who seems to have no sense when it comes to self-protection; the two of them have great chemistry, but this is no Love Story. Followed, unfortunately, by a sequel.