HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wandering Earth, The
Good Fairy, The
Killer Party
Holmes & Watson
Monster in the Closet
Sand, The
Glass
My Brilliant Career
Knife for the Ladies, A
Man in the Attic
Destroyer
Fillmore
Bumblebee
No Kidding
Honkytonk Man
Woman in the Window, The
Shed of the Dead
Dead Easy
Tucked
Widows
Last Movie Star, The
Death Game
Juliet, Naked
November
Arcadia
Sugar Hill
House with the Clock in Its Walls, The
Devil Thumbs a Ride, The
Suspiria
Secret People
Spy Who Dumped Me, The
Beautiful Stranger
House That Jack Built, The
Undercover
White Chamber
R.P.M.
Summer of 84
On Secret Service
Survive!
My Sister Eileen
   
 
Newest Articles
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
   
 
  Rollercoaster Ups And DownsBuy this film here.
Year: 1977
Director: James Goldstone
Stars: George Segal, Richard Widmark, Timothy Bottoms, Henry Fonda, Susan Strasberg, Helen Hunt, Dorothy Tristan, Harry Davis, Stephen Pearlman, G.F. Rowe, Wayne Tippit, Michael Bell, Charlie Tuna, Lonny Stevens, Robert Quarry, Craig Wasson, Steve Guttenberg
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Early one morning a young man (Timothy Bottoms) sets up his fishing equipment on a Californian pier, but he's not interested in catching anything. He is actually staring through his binoculars at someone doing maintenance on a rollercoaster at a nearby fun park, and that night he enters the park and begins to wander around, partaking of the amusements and acting natural. Yet he is anything but a normal customer, as he has been here earlier on that day and set a device up on the rollercoaster, an explosive which he will trigger later on - but nobody could be that callous, could they?

Oh yes they could, and this psychopath who also happens to be a technical genius is our villain. We never find out his name or even his true motives other than the financial one, but you come to see him as taking pride in outsmarting the authorities, and that could be his main impetus. This was lumped in with the then-fading disaster movie genre when it was first released, but actually where that type of film concentrated on a number of characters and their lives to offer us that essential human interest angle, here we're only interested in one person.

That person is Harry Calder, played by George Segal with that brand of world-weariness that he carried off so well. Harry is a safety inspector, and he is called by his boss (Henry Fonda in the kind of role he spent most of the seventies taking) to find out what happened when the rollercoaster we saw in the opening crashed and killed the passengers, a nasty sequence which does well to resonate throughout the rest of the film. Harry begins to have his suspicions about foul play when later that week he hears of an amusement park fire; no one killed there, but strange enough not to be a coincidence.

Soon he is on to the mad bomber, and being the sort of man who can be a pain in the neck to even people who like him, Harry is determined to prevent any more loss of life and wheedles his way into a top secret meeting to discuss the blackmail plot. This gets him noticed by the villain and we begin to see how underrated a thriller this is as director James Goldstone, best known for his television work (he directed the first episode of the original series of Star Trek), tightens the screws of tension. The centrepiece of this is not a rollercoaster tragedy, but a lengthy sequence where Harry is chosen to deliver the ransom at one of those parks.

This marks out the bomber as a man to be reckoned with as he effortlessly outwits Richard Widmark's F.B.I. man, and although the feds believe they have the upper hand, something which turns out to be a potentially deadly mistake. Then comes the climax, drawn out over a palm-sweating half hour, where there is a race against time to find a bomb without panicking the public at a park where a brand new ride is being premiered. Segal does very well out of this in an enjoyably sardonic and exasperated performance, reminding us what an underestimated star he was, and there are plenty of details to catch the eye, such as Sparks playing at the park and Ron Mael looking as if he'd rather not be taking part until he smashes up his piano stool. Rollercoaster may be regarded as gimmicky now, and it did utilise Sensurround to enhance its sound in cinemas, but it's actually a very professional, well crafted thriller of the type this era did so well. Music by Lalo Schifrin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2336 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Rachel Franke
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
   

 

Last Updated: