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Unholy Rollers

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R
1972

Unholy Rollers is an American exploitation film from 1972 directed by Vernon Zimmerman. The film features a scintillating mix of sporting drama, social commentary and comedic elements. The movie stars the talented Claudia Jennings in the leading role with strong supporting performances by Louis Quinn and Betty Anne Rees.

The narrative revolves around the magic and mayhem of roller derby, a sport popular during the 70s era in America. The story is about fast-paced races, fierce rivalry, personal ambition, camaraderie, and an examination of the intricacies of the human spirit. The leading lady, Claudia Jennings, forms the core of the narrative playing a strong-minded woman on a mission to make it big in the roller derby world.

Jennings takes on the role of Karen Walker, an aspiring roller derby star with big dreams and an equally big attitude. She works at a canned food factory and decides to quit her job impulsively, leading her to make a drastic career turn by joining the roller derby circuit. Herein we get to witness her journey as she makes a name for herself in this extreme sport.

Despite her novice status, Karen soon proves she has a natural flair for the sport and gradually rises in the ranks, earning both admirers and adversaries along the way. Her talent is only rivaled by her determination. Her audacity and raw ambition set her apart as she quickly becomes a much-loved (and hated) part of the roller derby circuit.

The movie uses roller derby as a backdrop to explore various themes like ambition, loyalty, and identity. As Karen continues to rise in her new profession, it becomes apparent that her success doesn't come without its fair share of challenges and drawbacks. Whether it's dealing with cut-throat competition or grappling with the harsh realities of fame and fortune, Karen’s journey is never short on drama or excitement.

Supporting performances from Louis Quinn and Betty Anne Rees add another layer to the story. Quinn, who plays the derby promoter, is a depiction of the ruthless side of the sport business that's replete with exploitation and manipulation. Rees, on the other hand, portrays another derby racer who becomes a close companion of Karen before inevitably becoming a rival. The diverse score of characters paints a vivid landscape of the roller derby world – as thrilling as it's treacherous.

Unholy Rollers candidly juxtaposes the thrill of the sport with vicious realities where friendships can swiftly change into rivalry, and fame can lead to solitude. It is an examination of the lengths to which one can go to achieve their dreams, the aspects of life one is willing to sacrifice, and the consequences one must bear.

Director Zimmerman's gritty, unflinching style of storytelling, combined with Jenning's fearless portrayal of a woman seeking success in a brutally competitive world, creates an unforgettable roller derby film. The raw energy and adrenaline of the roller derby sequences make for pulsating viewing, with expeditious camera work capturing the breakneck pace of the sport.

The film's aesthetic is quintessentially 70s, with costumes and set designs capturing the era's eclectic fashion sensibilities and social attitudes. Despite the serious themes it deals with, the movie also manages to infuse touches of humor and satirical comedy, adding an entire additional dimension to the storyline.

Unholy Rollers doubles as a sports drama and a poignant character study, offering an engaging perspective on the roller derby scene during its heyday of popularity in the 1970s. While it’s a vivid portrayal of a lesser-known sport, it's also about resilience and dream-chasing. It's this multi-layered narrative and the stellar performance from its lead actress that makes Unholy Rollers more than just a film about roller derby. It's a cinematic time capsule that transfigures a sporting phenomenon into a riveting human drama.

Unholy Rollers is a Action, Comedy, Drama movie released in 1972. It has a runtime of 88 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 5.4..

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Where can I stream Unholy Rollers movie online? Unholy Rollers is available to watch and stream at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, MGM+, FuboTV, The Roku Channel, EPIX NOW.

5.4/10
Director
Vernon Zimmerman
Stars
Claudia Jennings, Louis Quinn, Betty Anne Rees, Roberta Collins, Alan Vint
Also directed by Vernon Zimmerman
Also starring Alex Russell
Unholy Rollers is available on .