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Andrew Nette

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325666

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325666.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

‘This Was Never Meant to be a Game’: Rollerball’s Reception then and Now

‘This Was Never Meant to be a Game’: Rollerball’s Reception then and Now

(p.71) Chapter 3: ‘This Was Never Meant to be a Game’: Rollerball’s Reception then and Now

Andrew Nette

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on Rollerball's reception, the immediate critical reaction and box office performance and more recent critical commentary. It studies how the publicity efforts of the film's distributor, United Artists (UA), helped to pump prime controversy over the film's violence. In the United States, at least, this overshadowed Norman Jewison's desire to make a picture critiquing corporate power and rising violence in sport, contributed to its poor critical reception as an exploitation film, and even fuelled short-lived speculation that Rollerball might become a real sport. The chapter then looks at the film's cultural influence, concluding with some brief remarks on Rollerball's place in the broader body of murder game films. This is a broad cinematic output that spans reality TV parodies, Italian exploitation cinema and B-movies, mainstream science fiction, and YA dystopian films.

Keywords:   Rollerball, United Artists, Norman Jewison, violence, corporate power, exploitation film, exploitation cinema, mainstream science fiction

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