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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Kansas City Bomber (1972)

A single mother (Raquel Welch) turns to skating in the roller derby as a way of supporting her two children who live with her mother (Martine Bartlett) while she travels with the Kansas City team. Things get complicated when she is traded to Portland, Oregon where's she's seen as a threat by the "star" (Helena Kallianiotes, FIVE EASY PIECES) of the Portland team. It doesn't help that the team's owner (Kevin McCarthy) thinks he owns her outside the skating rink too. While the film can't seem to decide whether it's an out and out exploitation film or a serious study of a woman trying to find her place in a world that exploits her both professionally and personally (something Welch knows something about), it's a tight little film with a surprisingly effective performance by Welch. Two supporting performances stand out: Kallianiotes who wears her simmering rage on her sleeve and Norman Alden as a sensitive big gorilla of guy who's not too bright but exploited also. The skating sequences seem authentic though it's clear Welch is using a double for the more physical portions. Directed by Jerrold Freedman with a nice jazz infused score by Don Ellis (THE FRENCH CONNECTION). With Jeanne Cooper, Cornelia Sharpe and 10 year old Jodie Foster as Welch's daughter.

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