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Sherlock’s Classics: Film Review – Rollerball (1975)

Article image for Sherlock’s Classics: Film Review – Rollerball (1975)

ROLLERBALL Special Edition (1975/M):

James Caan, John Houseman, Maud Adams, John Beck, Ralph Richardson star in this futuristic ‘Gladiatorial’ vision of a corporate-controlled world (set in 2018) when an ultra-violent roller-derby style sport known as Rollerball represents a world without wars, and its star-player who is out to defy the corporation who want him out of the game.

Based on the short-story ‘The Roller-Ball Murders’ and written for the screen by William Harrison, ‘In The Heat of the Night’ director Norman Jewison’s 1975 film hits the screen with tremendous irony and effect, tightly gripping as both an obsessively social totalitarian political statement and as a bone crunching, adrenaline pumping thrill and spill execution.

Star James Caan is in top form as Jonathon E, as he struggles toward an articulate solution through a maze of lies and deception.

Veteran actors John Houseman as the creepy corporate boss and Ralph Richardson as the eccentric world controlling computer’s librarian, add an intellectual balance against the demanding bloodlust in the ‘circus-maximus’ of the participatory populace.

Thought provoking, stimulating, exciting, operatic and chilling, nearly four decades before the woefully uninspiring, inarticulate and sleep inducing ‘The Hunger Games,’ Norman Jewison’s ‘Rollerball’ is a not only a compelling testament to 70’s filmmaking, but eerily remains a foreboding reflection of power, greed, control, rebellion and the hero-worship obsession of global celebrity.           

Blu-Ray and DVD Special Features include:

  • Audio Commentary by Director Norman Jewison
  • Audio Commentary by Short Story and Screenwriter William Harrison
  • Return to the Arena: The Making of Rollerball
  • Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots

Stars: ****

Highly Recommended!