Friday, November 19, 2010

The Endangered List (Case File #92)

GET ROLLIN' (1980)

"Pat the Cat" Richardson
Vincent "Vinzerrelli" Brown
Inez Daniels

Written, Produced and Directed
J. Terrance Mitchell

Peggy Ann Stulberg

Executive Producers
Stan Plotnick
Irwin Young

Director of Photography
Joseph J. Friedman

Edited by
J. Terrance Mitchell
Peggy Ann Stulberg

Euphrates/Plotnick/Du Art

Get Rollin' Group

Distributed by
Aquarius Releasing Corp.

No MPAA rating
Running time: 85 minutes

A specialty picture as limited as GET ROLLIN', at the Embassy 1 theater, deserves short shrift, and a backhand of criticism, too.

It's half roller-skating, half disco-musical accompaniment. The main trouble is, the music, all 11 numbers, sounds alike. It never stops that blasting beat.

The other trouble is that the roller skating, like porn movies, has only a few variations. Then it's repetition. Splits, whirls, toe-steps, and around and around they go.

I won't say "Pat the Cat" Richardson and Vincent "Vinzerrelli" Brown don't skate well, or that their fellow skaters at the Empire Rollerdome in Brooklyn aren't enjoying themselves.

There's even the nub of a plot when Pat loses his restaurant job when he insists on taking time off for a skating audition with an impresario from London. Pat has arguments with his wife who has to stay home and wonder what he's doing, and where, and what money is going to accrue.

But the plot and character-building of writer-producer-director J. Terrance Mitchell are insufficient to sustain 85 minutes of that same old roll-around skating. In other words, this is a picture that should be confined to roller-skating addicts.

I must add that this is an addiction that does not lend itself to easy selling as entertainment. As a sport, yes. As a means of locomotion during a subway strike, yes. But deliver most of us from having to sit through this picture the whole way.

[New York Post, 4/25/80, p.35]

TOM ALLEN says...
Someone has slipped a promo movie in among the relatively high-minded independent American documentaries that, since BEST BOY, have been seeking a paying audience in commercial theatres. At least, that's one legitimate interpretation of J. Terrance Mitchell's GET ROLLIN', a simulated documentary about the career ambitions of two roller-skating performers. Mitchell's film is based at Brooklyn's Empire Rollerdome, one of the city's pioneer disco skating rinks, where it picks up a local character named "Pat the Cat" Richardson, who dances in a cowboy outfit, and a more ambitious entertainer, "Vinzerrelli" Brown, who aims for an outlandish, funky black image.

According to the film, both men end up being driven off the plantation in an Englishman's limo heading for a string of disco-rink openings in Great Britain. Is this a true story? It's impossible to know. When a documentary is staged with cameras on both ends of phone calls and real people act (or reenact) scenes, the viewer is pitched into a credibility crisis. Richardson, the less talented dancer, is such a forelorn small-time exhibitionist that he would skate off the Brooklyn Bridge to get on camera. Brown, a possibly first-rate dancer, is cagey enough to withhold his best stuff from an effort made for less than one tenth of ROLLER BOOGIE.

GET ROLLIN' is a movie incomparably better in its parts than in its abysmal whole. The basic scenes on the floor of the Rollerdome are technically proficient, but the key concepts of faking cinema verite and choosing amateur hustlers with banal dreams as the main characters extremely limits the interest. To paraphrase Kathleen Carroll in her uncharacteristically harsh review of JOE AND MAXI, I'm afraid that the only person who could gain something from watching GET ROLLIN' is Mitchell's publicist.

[Village Voice, 5/5/80, p.41]


Mike White said...

So want to see this. :)

Unknown said...

For you all, in search for the rollerskate movie;
I uploaded the movie on Youtube;
I was broadcasted long time ago on the dutch television.
Search terms ; rollerskate movie get rollin.
Good luck and keep rolling.
Yours,John Oron
the Netherlands (Europe).

Mike White said...

Got a link? I'm not seeing it.

Temple of Schlock said...

The rights holder had it removed a year and a half ago.

tom said...

It's back on You Tube