In the trailer, K.C. and Burt Henry are shown discussing K.C.'s problems with Jackie while wearing bathrobes, probably meant to follow the sequence where K.C. takes a taxi to Burt's hotel and he first divulges his plans to take her to Chicago. See more »
After Big Bertha defeats her in the grudge match a reverse image of K.C. is shown laying across the track with her splint seemingly on the left wrist and her number 11 backwards. See more »
Bruising action and bruised egos propel the plot in this look at the pro roller derby world of the early 1970s. Raquel Welch plays K.C. Carr, a physically tough but emotionally vulnerable young woman who can "jam" with the best of them. For K.C., her job as a player pays the bills, but it keeps her on the road, separated from her two young, fatherless children.
I would estimate that roughly fifty percent of the film takes place in an indoor rink, where skaters go lap after lap around the rink, trying to gain advantage on each other, as the audience cheers and jeers, depending on who they like and don't like. The film portrays fans as low-class, uneducated dolts, oblivious to their obvious manipulation by franchise owner Mr. Henry (Kevin McCarthy), who carefully orchestrates skater performances. The seedy backstage world of pro skating reeks of cheap quarters and beer joints. Among the players, jealousies, anger, and fear lurk just below the surface.
Aside from the roller derby element, the story is rather thin. But it does end in a somewhat surprising way.
Raquel Welch gives a really fine performance, even though she's just a tad too "pretty", relative to the other women skaters. K.C. wants to get along and be a team player, but her adversaries give her a rough time. Welch gives her character an emotional depth that makes K.C. warm-hearted despite her physical toughness.
Lighting is very dark, which matches the film's dreary, downbeat tone throughout. Camera shots are quite effective in the fast changing skating action.
Owing to its narrow focus, "Kansas City Bomber" will be of interest to a very restricted base of potential viewers. Beyond this base, the film is worth a look for the fine performance of Raquel Welch.
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