Sunday, July 2, 2017
Nightcap 7/2/17 O'Toole and Welles discuss Hamlet, Thoughts on Rollerball and Randi's links
This is a first pass on a piece I may or may not expand. I present it because it has intrigued the hell out of me and I'm fumbling around trying to make it work
I have not watched a film for the last week (more or less). Once I finished up the films I had for early screening for Japan Cuts during my lunch break on Monday I stopped watching films for the week. Even when I was laid out on Thursday I resisted watching OKJA and just lay in bed.
The one exception was this past Tuesday Night when TCM was running the original ROLLERBALL. I ran across it while surfing between innings of the Mets game. I stopped because it was one of the game sequences and I always liked them.
Delaying going back to the baseball game I fell into the plot- of Jonathan E's search for meaning and understanding in a world totally controlled by corporations (remember the tag line was In the future there will be no war. There will only be Rollerball). What struck me what was a dystopia in 1975 and became kind of quaint after that has taken on unexpected echoes today in Trumps America.
While the world of the film was imagined as a kind of ancient Rome meets communism (there are bread and circuses but the masses are not allowed to have heroes- the corporation is supposed to be all) it now plays very differently. Certainly our fear of corporations taking over the world and diving it further into us and them or have and have nots which is much stronger than what it was 40 years ago. There was more a sense of being able to climb your way to the top, now there is only a sense of dumb luck.
While we don't have anything like Rollerball today we have drifted toward the idea of sport being the controlling factor in away with the rise of the NFL whose Super Bowl is a kind of religious event where the crowds behave like those at the Rollerball games.
I know some of this is a "no duh" on many levels but how John Houseman corporate head tries to control James Caan and the masses you suddenly have a weird analog for Donald Trump. Houseman's machinations aimed at getting Caan to play along echoes much of what Trump is doing in the real world. How Trump manipulates, or tries is similar to what Houseman does. Even Trump's veiled and not so veiled threats against his opponents mirror how Hoseman changes the rules to effectively kill Caan.
As events transpire (such as the whole Morning Joe debacle) it becomes frightfully clear that what is happening politically now is mirrored in the film.
In all honestly there is a very long piece in this. What I need to do is rewatch the film and make notes but until then you should give the film a shot and see it through today's eyes because violent game aside, the politics of the film has suddenly become relevant.
And now some links ala Randi
Making Batman Returns
Forgotten train lines
Cool basketball court
Darkside of the seaside
Spotting Fake photos