Sunday, July 31, 2011

Baby Jane, Dirty Dozen, and Lady Wrestlers

In 1980, after a dreaded actor's strike, Robert Aldrich made his final film: ALL THE MARBLES starring Peter Falk as a manager of two female wrestlers played by Broadway dancer vet Vicki Frederick and newcomer Laurene Landon.

The R-rated rags-to-riches tale of Peter Falk's "California Dolls" was a blast for me to find as a teen. It all ends with a big ROCKY-esque showdown in the ring which gets viewers all riled up. A few years later, Matt Cimber created the G.L.O.W. (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) for TV syndication gold.

The DVD is available as a special order archive collection. Reviews say: Vicki Frederick lends a real emotional gravity to her struggles with her chosen career and Laurene Landon has a girlish charm that is positively ingratiating. However, All The Marbles really belongs to Peter Falk, whose grizzled charisma is a natural fit for the role of the manager.

Here is a brilliant interview with the blonde star of the film- Laurene Landon- you will love it. She was 19 and called director Aldrich "Mr Altman" on her first day on the set. He laughed it off - thinking she was being a jokester. Nope- she was just 19 and being 'blonde'.

Her brunette co-star Vicki Frederick was 10 years older and more showbiz savvy. Frederick had just left Broadway to try her hand in Hollywood. She found roles as dancing/voluptuous gals on Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy- and would later be cast as Sheila in the 1985 feature film version of A CHORUS LINE - however, back in 1980, All the Marbles promised to be her biggest feature film role and she wanted that part! The actresses trained for weeks with local LA-area Mexican wrestlers and were more than ready to take it to the mat when cameras started rolling.

With the passing of the great Peter Falk recently, I remembered all the entertaining moments he gave to filmdom - and the night I went alone to the cinema and got caught up in ALL THE MARBLES.

1 comment:

Mr. Sophistication said...

Man this looks great. Not a prayer that it will be on Netflix though.