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Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story

Silken (wholesome Nancy Anne Sakovich) lives with her father, Peter (Eugene Robert Glazer), and sister, Catherine (Amana Tapping). Their occasional mother, artist Romi (lovely Kate Trotter), drops in and out of their lives with bitter comments on everything and everyone.

With:
Cast: Nancy Anne Sakovich, Dylan Neal, Cedric Smith, Susan Hogan, Eugene Robert Glazer, Amana Tapping, Kate Trotter, Dennis O'Connor, Lynn Mackenzie, Craig Gardner, Amy Jacobson, Jason Knight, Jim Fawcett, Mate Renig, David Ellis, David Dunbar, Adrian Hough, Nicholas Rice, Rod Black. Golden Will" is based on the story of Canadian rower Silken Laumann, who, seriously injured not long before the Barcelona Olympics, courageously fought back. She rowed well enough in Atlanta to capture a silver medal July 27. Telepic's a good look at fortitude. But under Eric Till's flat direction, the story seldom rises to credible, much less Olympian, heights. Joy Fielding's loose script leaves questions unanswered, dramatic situations unfulfilled and provides, except in one case, commonplace characterizations.

Silken (wholesome Nancy Anne Sakovich) lives with her father, Peter (Eugene Robert Glazer), and sister, Catherine (Amana Tapping). Their occasional mother, artist Romi (lovely Kate Trotter), drops in and out of their lives with bitter comments on everything and everyone.

At least Romi adds a lemon twist. In an awkwardly written scene, she spills to Silken, who must have heard it all her life, why she’s so disgruntled; badly timed, scene’s an intrusion. But the curious behavior of Silken’s East German-born mother comes beautifully into focus in one visual moment when Romi, in the background, looks over the piano at an unaware Silken. For a second or two, “Golden Will” leaps to life — it’s cameraman Ludek Bogner’s finest moment.

When Silken and Catherine flop as a team in the L.A. Olympics, Catherine ankles. Lonely, wealthy Canadian Marlene McBride (Susan Hogan) inexplicably has already given Silken an $ 800 pair of oars and hereafter helps her along the way. They meet in Seoul, but that still doesn’t explain where and how Silken otherwise gets her financing.

In Seoul, Silken meets fellow rower John Wallace (soap opera handsome Dylan Neal), with whom she begins a romance. Marlene’s along, but medals elude Silken. Preparing for the 1992 Barcelona meet, she works with celebrated rowing coach Mike Spracklen (Cedric Smith). Silken suffers a boating accident, undergoes surgery for her broken leg and severed muscles, and begins the tough fight to get into condition. She has 10 weeks.

John becomes an accommodator, risking his own Olympian chances to be with recovering Silken, who doesn’t ask why he’s not doing his own training. Offhandedly, he tells Marlene he’s been suspended for missing practice; he does go on to win the gold with his teammates.

Re-enactment of the Barcelona contest builds in suspense as Silken’s golden will goes into play. She manages a bronze, but Atlanta lies ahead.#Acting’s unexciting, with Sakovich looking determined, Neal doing what he can in the undemanding, near-prop role. Smith’s coach sticks to the traditionally gruff and helpful, Hogan’s dependable as all-giving Marlene, Glazer’s easygoing as dad. Only Trotter’s neurotic Romi takes home a medal.

Telefilm aired successfully in Canadian syndie marts across the country July 26, night before the big day. Disney Channel acquired the work after the fact. Incidentally, Silken married John, but the ceremony isn’t dramatized. Too bad.

Tech credits are OK.

Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story

Production: Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story (Tues. (6), 11:15 p.m.-12:45 a.m., Disney Channel) Filmed in Toronto and in Elberton, Ga., by Carol Reynolds Prods. and Baton Broadcasting Inc. Executive producer, Carol Reynolds; producer, Adam Haight; director, Eric Till; writer, Joy Fielding.

Crew: Camera, Ludek Bogner; editor, T.C. Martin; production designer, Ed Hanna; art director, Jim Phillips; sound, Erv Copestake; music, Glenn Morley; casting, Rosina Bucci.

With: Cast: Nancy Anne Sakovich, Dylan Neal, Cedric Smith, Susan Hogan, Eugene Robert Glazer, Amana Tapping, Kate Trotter, Dennis O'Connor, Lynn Mackenzie, Craig Gardner, Amy Jacobson, Jason Knight, Jim Fawcett, Mate Renig, David Ellis, David Dunbar, Adrian Hough, Nicholas Rice, Rod Black. Golden Will" is based on the story of Canadian rower Silken Laumann, who, seriously injured not long before the Barcelona Olympics, courageously fought back. She rowed well enough in Atlanta to capture a silver medal July 27. Telepic's a good look at fortitude. But under Eric Till's flat direction, the story seldom rises to credible, much less Olympian, heights. Joy Fielding's loose script leaves questions unanswered, dramatic situations unfulfilled and provides, except in one case, commonplace characterizations.

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