…All the Marbles Movie Streaming
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Harry manages The California Dolls, a female wrestling tag team endlessly touring America, and he’s also romantically involved with one of them. Their fortunes seem on the slide (particularly when Harry accepts an engagement involving mud wrestling!) but then the big grudge match beckons.
Director: Robert Aldrich Writer: Mel Frohman
Peter Falk, Vicki Frederick and Laurene Landon
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…All the Marbles movie in IMDB
This is a film about a girl wrestling team and their manager (played by Vicki Frederick, Laureen Landon and Peter Falk) on a tour across the middle west of America. It was the last film directed by Robert Aldrich and was an independent production that he is said to have financed himself. Released through MGM, it had a disappointing run but is still quite highly regarded by many viewers, probably because the direction, camera work and acting were all significantly above average. Its limited success probably resulted chiefly from the very limited interest most potential viewers have in female wrestling as either entertainment or sport. This was compounded by a serious dichotomy between the actual wrestling sequences and those showing the team on the road. Watching it is like simultaneously watching two very different films cut up into sizeable chunks that have been mixed together almost indiscriminately. Films of this type are often released in several different versions, each designed to have greater appeal to one specific group of potential viewers. This makes them difficult to comment on, as comments written for one version may not be applicable to another. This appears to be the case here The original release “……all the Marbles” was renamed “The California Dolls” for release in the U.K., and a second release in the U.S.A. also used this alternative title. I saw the U.K. version, and so my comments may not be applicable to either of those released in North America. Where does one go from here? Clearly such a film can be reviewed at several different levels depending upon the viewers interests. Equally clearly this has already been brought out in the comments already submitted about this film. Potential backers of films of this type have great difficulty deciding whether there will be an adequate market, even when the film-script under consideration is of exceptional quality; and it may be even more difficult to decide to which market group the films should be primarily directed. In reviewing it, rather than limiting my comments to one such group, I would prefer to look briefly at how it might be expected to appeal to several different groups of viewers. I am among the viewers for whom the greatest appeal was the remarkably convincing performance of Peter Falk (whose work has mainly been for TV, and who is probably best known for playing the detective Columbo) as the manager of the small touring team. He was perfect as an experienced and wily, but very seedy, small scale business manager who has seen it all. Once could sense that life had continually been knocking him down, but that he had long ago mastered the art of picking himself up again and carrying on exactly as before. Top marks for this. Another group of viewers would be more attracted by the realistic portrayal of the life style experienced by any independent group operating on the fringes of the entertainment industry, and continually on the move between a series of one night stands. This is an interesting lifestyle with which most of us are not familiar, and it was very convincingly portrayed here. A third group will be those who rate female wrestling as a significant spectator sport and who want to watch this film primarily for the ring sequences. I believe these individuals should be very happy with what this film provides. However, after watching even one of the brutal wrestling sequences, other viewers will be left wondering why such attractive girls did not try to get Uncle Hef to picture them in his magazine wearing nothing but a pair of rabbit’s ears, so that they could sign up with a Hollywood model agency and earn a few bucks by modelling (acting?) in films for Andy Sidaris, instead of through a life in the wrestling ring. This brings us to the final group of viewers I will consider – those who enjoy a T&A film for its own sake. Both ‘ccthemovieman-1′ (in comments already on this database) and other non-IMDb sources refer to copious nudity in the original release of this film. I cannot comment on this as the version I saw was stripped of every vestige of toplessness (presumably because of concerns that such sequences might antagonise some viewers). Even during the mud wrestling sequences none of the contestants became topless for an instant (something I have always understood to be contrary to the whole ‘philosophy’ of mud wrestling). This confirms my earlier point that there are often several different versions of a film of this type put together in the editing room. If a DVD release is being considered MGM would have to decide which of them is most likely to be a commercial success. My suggestion is therefore that MGM should consider issuing a double sided DVD, one side with a copy of “…. all the marbles” edited to maximise its appeal to both the latter groups above, and the other side with the alternate version “The California Dolls” edited to maximise its appeal to the first two groups above. This would also help to minimise the problem of the mixture of two different stories. The first version would concentrate on all the ring sequences, plus any others which showed the girls topless, and would include minimal linking sequences. I believe this version could have a wide appeal. It takes more than a few topless scenes to sell a T&A DVD today; but we have here two very attractive cast members who, quite unusually, are also very competent actresses. Those primarily interested in the topless sequences would probably also enjoy the wrestling (or cat-fighting as some of the comments have called it), so on balance this version should have a strong appeal. In the second version the fight scenes would be substantially cut in duration to allow the disk’s many other purchasers a greater appreciation of the fascinating character studies provided by this movie.
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