HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Antibirth
Undisputed
Vengeance: A Love Story
All About the Benjamins
Wolf and Sheep
House IV
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Face in the Crowd, A
Arrival
House II: The Second Story
Jade
Who's That Knocking at My Door
Louder Than Bombs
House
Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell, A
Eyes of My Mother, The
Just Like a Woman
Lady in the Van, The
Jack the Ripper
Gleason
What a Whopper!
Kickboxer
Insiang
Only the Strong
Manila in the Claws of Light
Sun Choke
Man on Fire
Clear and Present Danger
Two Rode Together
Chamber, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Absolute Dick: Dick Emery at Thames Television on DVD
Face the Strange: Extremes of British Pop Movies '65-'75
How To Become The Most Famous Man in the World: Chaplin at Essanay on Blu-ray
Every Day's a Holiday, Charlie Brown!
Christmas Bonus: All Star Comedy Carnival on DVD
Manor On Movies: Beat On The Brat(s)
The SHADO Knows: UFO The Complete Series on Blu-ray
Siege Mentality: Rio Bravo and Assault on Precinct 13
Queens of Women: Five Cult Stars, Five Cult Films
Abstract Strategies: The Brothers Quay on Blu-ray
   
 
  ...All the Marbles Tag Team TroublesBuy this film here.
Year: 1981
Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Peter Falk, Vicki Frederick, Laurene Landon, Burt Young, Tracy Reed, Ursaline Bryant, Claudette Nevins, Richard Jaeckel, John Hancock, Lenny Montana, Charlie Dell, Chick Hearn, Cliff Emmich, Clyde Kusatsu, Joe Greene, Angela Aames, Stanley Brock
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Action
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Another night, another wrestling match and the tag team of The California Dolls manage to win the evening - this time. They are Iris (Vicki Frederick) and Molly (Laurene Landon), two athletic girls who spend their time travelling the United States with their manager Harry Sears (Peter Falk) who always wants what's best for them, but might just be more looking after his own interests as they are his meal ticket after all. Every match they play features another fight in itself, to get enough money to cover their expenses and with a little luck to move higher up the rankings...

...All the Marbles will forever be remembered, if it's remembered at all, for being the final movie of one of the great American cult directors, Robert Aldrich, a man whose flops were almost as interesting as his hits, and whose hits were among the very best examples of his craft coming out of Hollywood in his career. This last film, as with many of his others, picked up a following mainly for its unusual subject matter as this was before wrestling really took off as an entertainment fit for the masses, and women's wrestling was rarely the draw that the men's matches were, no matter that they both featured the same amount of prowess.

As the two Dolls, dancer Frederick and future cult star, often in Larry Cohen movies, Landon did all their own stunts having been coached by legendary exponent of the craft Mildred Burke; if Oscars were given out for the amount of physical knocks the actresses took, these two would be nominated in the blink of an eye, managing to look as glamorous as possible under the circumstances. Those circumstances being flung around the ring for a good half of the movie, the rest of it taken up with the character stuff where they more than held their own against the more experienced wiles of co-star Falk, a veteran scene-stealer putting in similarly excellent work here.

These three were so good together it was a pity another vehicle was never found to put them together once more, you can believe in the banter they delivered from the script that they had indeed spent more time living hand to mouth and out of one anothers' pockets than they cared to recall, and many of the non-combat sequences featured the girls lamenting their lives had come to this while Harry attempts to buoy their spirits. Harry was a smooth talker all right, but he's not invincible, and he struggles to get his team the breaks they deserve, so when in the second half things begin to look up for them all, after a particularly humliating bout of topless mud wrestling, you are genuinely optimistic.

As much as this was a deliberately uplifting triumph against the odds comedy drama - or you begin to hope it is after getting to know them for two hours - Aldrich did not soft pedal the grim nature of the characters' existences. Yes, there was a lot to laugh at but you're always aware that a more serious scene was on its way, whether it's Molly's painkiller addiction or simply Iris's mortification that she was laughed at during one bout; these were tough women but they were not heartless. This is all building up to a contest that plays out in near-real time for the last half hour of the movie as the California Dolls get their chance at the big time against the reigning champions, a formidable duo who will take all their resources, including Harry's publicity drive, to bring them down. With Burt Young on great, untrustworthy form this may remind you of Rocky movies, possibly deliberately, but the match which climaxes this was far more exciting than most of that franchise because you don't know how cynical the conclusion of this too often unsung gem will be. Music by Frank De Vol.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3604 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme music?
Superman: The Movie
The Dark Knight
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three ('74)
Star Wars
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Great Escape
Halloween
The Ipcress File
The Magnificent Seven
Back to the Future
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
  Nelly Bongbong
  June Wallace
  Mark Hodson
  Rian Hill
Enoch Sneed
Guild Lee
   

 

Last Updated: