Saturday October 1st 2022

The man who inspired Schwarzenegger

Reg Park

Hot DVDs – Documentary

Addicted to Life – The Reg Park Story

Marketed and distributed by Plum Productions in DVD format

Directed by Richard Nosworthy

Produced by Felix Meyburgh, Richard Nosworthy, Dave Papenfus

Narrators: Malcolm Gooding and Reg Park

The director and producers have achieved a compelling success in their cinematographic biography, Addicted to Life – The Reg Park Story, which explores the life of the iconic bodybuilder, athlete and Mr Universe champion who died of cancer on 22 November 2007.

The documentary, at 92 minutes long, comprehensively covers Park’s early years growing up in Leeds and his achievements and history until his death in South Africa. Park’s accomplishments as a bodybuilder are legend, but most people will be interested to learn of his devotion to family and his capacity as a healer, teacher and mentor – and not least that he was the inspiration behind his lifelong friend, the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said of him : ‘I set my goal that I wanted to copy Reg Park. I wanted to be Reg Park. I wanted to follow his training method. . .his life philosophy. . .get into movies . . .take that money I make in movies . . . start a gymnasium chain . . . and make millions of dollars!’

Complementing the velvet voice and touching inflexions of narrator, Malcolm Gooding, Park’s frequent visual narration is a feature of the excellent biopic, which also contains exclusive interviews with celebrities whose lives he influenced, such as Schwarzenegger, Gary Player, Joe Weider and marathon icon, Bruce Fordyce.

He is without doubt the star of his own show and his sincerity, wisdom and knowledge are palpable in his narration. He relates his story in a gentle, unassuming and humorous way, but his articulate modesty cannot hide the unswerving and unrelenting passion he brought to his vocation: ‘I didn’t do it for the accolades . . . I did it because I loved it.’ The three times Mr Universe champion also reveals a remarkable knowledge of muscular anatomy and at one point in his life pondered whether to study medicine and become a doctor.

It is a magnificent tribute to a great athlete and a fine man: sensitively directed, edited and portrayed right through to the touching and poignant scenes at the end. It is a worthy and fitting companion for those Addicted to Life.

-       Reviewed by Bruce Cooper