Thursday, November 23, 2017

Phil's Cult Classics: ROLLER BOOGIE (1979) from Olive Films - November 15, 2017

Starring Linda Blair, Jim Bray, Roger Perry, Beverly Garland, James Van Patten, Kimberly Beck, Albert Insinnia, Stoney Jackson, Mark Goddard
Written by Barry Schneider and Irwin Yablans
Cinematography by Dean Cundey
Edited by Byron 'Buzz' Brandt, Edilberto Cruz and Edward Salier
Produced by Irwin Yablans, Bruce Cohn Curtis and Joseph Wolf
Directed by Mark L. Lester
Originally distributed by United Artists
Released by Olive Films

Welcome back to another edition of Phil's Cult Classics! Today's film come from that groovie decade known as the 1970's. In fact, it was released in the last year of that decade and it started off a trend that continued in the early 1980's Dubbed "The CITIZEN KANE of the Roller Disco Films", ROLLER BOOGIE continues to entertain audiences long after its original release!

The film's official synopsis: Terry (Linda Blair), a classical musician, meets fast-talking roller skater Bobby James (Jim Bray) at Venice Beach, Calif. After initially ignoring Bobby, Terry warms to him when he saves her from a roller skating accident. The pair start skating together and decide to partner for a competition at the local roller rink. But, when they discover a shady plot to sell the rink to a crooked developer (Mark Goddard), Terry and Jim team up with their friends to stop the deal.

Original Theatrical Poster (1979)
Lead actress Linda Blair is no stranger to genre fans. Having shot to stardom with her role as Regan in director William Friedkin's 1973 horror film classic THE EXORCIST, she went on to appear in movies like THE EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, HELL NIGHT, CHAINED HEAT, SAVAGE STREETS and  REPOSSESSED. At first, Blair's co-star was going to be her then boyfriend David Kennedy, but they broke up and he was later dismissed. Jim Bray (making his one and only film appearance) was originally hired to be the stunt double for Blair's then uncast leading man. When the producers failed to find an actor they liked, they cast Bray as Bobby James. By the time he was cast, he had already won a staggering 275 trophies for rollerskating! Beverly Garland had already made a name for herself in classic sci-fi and B-movies of the 1950's such as PROBLEM GIRLS, THE ROCKET MAN and Roger Corman's SWAMP WOMEN, GUNSLINGER and IT CONQUERED THE WORLD

The film was directed by the great Mark L. Lester with great set-ups and compositions. Lester started out with making exploitation classics like STEEL ARENA, TRUCK STOP WOMEN and BOBBIE JO AND THE OUTLAW. He burst into the mainstream with films like CLASS OF 1984, FIRESTARTER, COMMANDO and ARMED AND DANGEROUS. Lester is still making films to this very day, ranging from action movies to fright flicks such as GROUPIE, POSEIDON REX and DRAGONS OF CAMELOT

Produced by Compass International and distributed by United Artists, the movie was released to theaters on December 21, 1979. The film grossed an impressive $13.2 million at the box office but it was the soundtrack that really got everyone grooving. Issued by Casablanca Records, the double-LP soundtrack featured disco hits by Cher (Hell on Wheels), Earth, Wind & Fire (Boogie Wonderland), as well as several original songs written by Bob Esty and Michelle Aller. Despite its cult status, the soundtrack still remains unavailable on CD or digitally.

ROLLER BOOGIE remains one of the best disco cult classics of all time and garnered a legion of fans who enjoy the innocence of the movie! It's a comedic, light-hearted, disco love story that will make you dance in your seat! It captures the late 1970's beautifully and reminds us how much fun it was to be alive back then! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

ROLLER BOOGIE is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD from Olive Films. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit your local retailer or order one on their website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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