This expensive movie only did so-so box
office in 1975, perhaps because Jewison was denied his appeals to
reduce the movie’s too-harsh R rating to a PG—although it’s really not
that bloody. Yet it still looks great 33 years later, notably John
Box’s impressive production design for the film’s centerpiece rink,
while camp followers will be amused by a party sequence involving
upper-crust benefactors who caress each other while frugging to an
elegant synthesizer beat. Caan’s muscular gladiator also helps prevent
the movie from bogging down amid its own self-importance, although the
same year’s action flick Death Race 2000 juggled similar themes in a more lighthearted manner.
Ironically, Jewison wanted 1975
audiences to be repelled by the troubling themes of violence and
voyeurism in his prescient movie, but they instead grooved to its
dynamic action sequences (expertly edited by Antony Gibbs), which have
resulted in the film’s enduring cult following. Judge for yourself when
Rollerball will screen in a 35mm print on Friday, Oct. 10, 10
p.m., at Eastwood’s Palace Theatre, 2384 James St. There will be a
charity auction prior to the showing, with the highest bidder receiving
a dinner and date with two female members of the local Assault City
Roller Derby team. Admission is $8; for information, call 463-9240.
Rink panther: James Caan in 1975’s Rollerball, which will screen Friday at Eastwood’s Palace Theatre as part of an auction involving Assault City roller-derby queens.