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Laserdisc ROLLERCOASTER (1977) George Segal Lot#2 LTBX Classic LD

Laserdisc ROLLERCOASTER (1977) George Segal Lot#2 LTBX Classic LD

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READ THIS FIRST: This is a 12-inch Diameter Laserdisc, which is NOT the same as DVD and cannot be played on a DVD player!

Laserdisc Title: "ROLLERCOASTER (1977)"
Edition: Letterboxed Edition (Single Disc)
Directed By: James Goldstone
Starring: George Segal, Timothy Bottoms, Harry Guardino, Susan Strasberg, Henry Fonda
Production / Year: 1977 Universal City Studios, Inc.
Running Time: 119 Minutes / Color
Audio Format: Digital Sound, CX Encoded
Video Format: LTBX (2.35:1), NTSC, CLV (Extended Play)
Miscellaneous Features: Rated PG, Closed Captioned
Distributed By: MCA Universal Home Video
Catalog / Spine Number: 41397

Cosmetic Condition:
Disc (s): Very Good - Some very light to very minor hairline surface swirls or very light fingerprint marks
Jacket: Very Good - Normal shelf wear, few creases, light scuffs, slightly worn-out corners or edges but no signs of spines splitting


Based on the title, I had originally thought Rollercoaster (1977) was going to be a disaster type movie that were popular in the 70's like Airport (1970), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), or The Towering Inferno (1974), but it turned out to be something a lot different. I guess it was for the best, as a film about a rollercoaster that was running out of control, throwing stars of old off at various points, probably wouldn't have worked too well and would have been like scraping the bottom of the disaster-venue barrel.

The film stars George Segal as Harry Caulder, a government safety inspector who's thrown into a situation having to deal with a terrorist (Timothy Bottoms) bent on blowing up rollercoasters, harming and killing innocent amusement park patrons unless his demands are met. Also in the film are Richard Widmark as federal agent Hoyt, Henry Fonda as Caulder's boss (Fonda appears for like a total of five minutes in two or three scenes...long enough to pick up a check, I suppose), Susan Strassberg as Caulder's girlfriend, and a teenagish Helen Hunt as Caulder's daughter.

The film wastes very little time as Bottom's character strikes, blowing up part of the track on a large rollercoaster. The cars crash, people die horribly, and Caulder is called in...Apparently, he had just inspected this ride a few months prior, and now this accident and the subsequent deaths has everyone asking, "What happened?" No one, it seems, has bother to do a thorough inspection of the damaged track, otherwise they would have noticed it had been blasted apart, and everyone is assuming it a just an accident due to equipment failure or some such thing. I would suspect the insurance company would want to have had this done before they paid out any monies, but what the heck do I know? Anyway, another accident happens at another park, and Caulder gets wind of a meeting between the big wigs of five different amusement parks all over the country, and decides to try and attend. During the meeting, they learn the motive behind the attacks, and also learn of the terms required by the terrorist in order for him to stop. Since attacks by the same person happened in different states, the feds (Widmark) are called in, but the terrorist has taken a shine to Caulder, and requests he be involved in the events soon to follow. Will the terrorists' demands be met? Or will he strike again? What exactly is his deal? Does he just hate rollercoasters, or amusement parks in general?

The film wasn't bad. As I said, this isn't a disaster movie, but more of a game of cat and mouse, with the feds chasing Bottoms' character, trying to determine his next move. Caulder, who managed to piece together a number of elements early on, get caught up in the proceedings, having to play the terrorists' games hoping to avoid any future tragedies. Other than the somewhat gruesome scenes (which were actually toned down prior to release) at the beginning, this film just had a strong feel of a television production to me. There was an effort to try and create a level of suspense, in the sense of a Hitchcock film, but the predictability overwhelmed this more often than not, along with a few glaring plot holes, stereotypical characters, and contrived plot devices. And the music...I like Lalo Schifrin, but I found the music that accompanied Bottoms' character, especially when he was getting ready to do evil things, to become very annoying. The rollercoaster photography was nice, and I am sure it played much better on the big screen, and the actors were all competent in their roles.

Presented here is a nice looking letterboxed print on laserdisc, although not without some very minor speckling on the picture in one or two parts. It's noteworthy to mention the original film was released in theater in Sensurround, a process that `augmented the violent action on screen by intense waves of high decibel sound, enough, in some documented cases, to crack ribs.' according to Haliwell's Film Companion. The gimmick never really caught on as it often disrupted films being show in adjoining theaters, causing complaints to theater managers who decided it just wasn't worth the trouble. Only two other films, Earthquake (1974) and Midway (1976) also used the process before it was discontinued. Special features include production notes, bios, a trailer, and some web links. While predictable, Rollercoaster was not a bad ride, although at a run time of two hours, it could have been shortened a little bit, adding a little more quickness to the pacing. Oh yeah, look for a cameo by Steve Guttenberg around 82 minutes into the film, as Federal Agent #3. Don't blink, or you'll miss it.


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