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  • jbacks311 August 2004
    Pete Smith's MGM Specialties are an acquired taste. He's got this weird hypo-nasal delivery that he often used for comedic effect, but here he plays it straight. Better known as THE GLENN MORRIS STORY, this short gives a pretty good account of the athletic career of Colorado's own Glenn Morris. Morris was a local athletic prodigy who went on to fame as an Olympic decathlon champion in 1936. In real life, he set his sights on an acting career. Unfortunately for him, he fell in with legendary cheapskate producer Sol "Less is More" Lesser who could squeeze the buffalo off a nickel. His foray into acting as Tarzan in one of Lesser's infamous non-MGM cheaply-cheap loin-clad productions was met with a critical drubbing. This short focuses only on Morris' athletics and like most of Pete Smith's 30's shorts, it was shot silent with overdubs and sound effects. Despite the hoopla surrounding the '36 Olympics, no mention's made of anything remotely to Germany or Nazis (a regime whose attitudes were already well known to both Mayer and parent Loew's Inc. brass). Morris photographed well and it's just a shame that some studio didn't invest in acting lessons and put him in quality productions--- he could've been a decent actor and enjoyed a long career in Hollywood.
  • Decathlon Champion: The Story of Glenn Morris (1937)

    *** (out of 4)

    Another nice short from Pete Smith and MGM discusses what it took for Glenn Morris, a poor farm kid, to get his body in shape so that he could quickly conquer ten different events and get ready for the 1936 Olympics. Morris would go onto try various things in his life but this short keeps its eye on his athletic career and makes for a good way to spend ten-minutes. For the most part the film does a wonderful job at keeping one entertained as well as informed on all the events that Morris went through to get ready for the Olympics. It was rather funny seeing how he originally got in shape and how all this early training was the perfect fit to get him ready for Berlin. Morris plays himself throughout the film and the re-enactments are quite good, although actual footage from the Berlin Olympics would have been better. The direction is nice throughout as is the narration by Smith.