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PETER FALK & VICKI FREDERICK STARRING IN 'ALL THE MARBLES'

Warner Archives original blue cover
Three dots following a sentence usually means... there's more to come... And when the opposite occurs, and the dots proceed the sentence or title, that's pretty much that...

year: 1981 rating: ***
Which sums up the 1981 Peter Falk road movie …ALL THE MARBLES in which the quirky COLUMBO actor plays Harry, the lowlife manager of a female tag-team wrestling troupe going city to city...

And from the very beginning it feels like we're heading towards a concussion since the ladies are already at the end of their professional ropes: So those dots represent all the work we didn't see, and they really want those marbles, already...  

They referring to sexy and voluptuous jocks Iris and Molly, played by brunette Vicki Frederick and blond Laurene Landon, both sick and tired of the nowhere grungy gigs that Harry, in debt with several bookies, keeps tossing them into. Dive arenas (and one mud wrestling carnival) hardly provide enough bread to keep the trio active, stopping at cheap motels with nothing left over for a fancy dinner, which Harry keeps promising...

Vicki Frederick
Other than being a lightweight exploitation replacing the popular roller derby genre with wrestling, ALL THE MARBLES is a showcase for the two Amazon beauties yet also highlights the legitimate acting skills of the more prominent Iris.

Vicki Frederick steals the show
In this semi love interest role, much of the plot evolves around Vicki Frederick’s character reluctantly staying on board while, deep down, she's madly in love with her endearingly seedy manager. In that particular aspect, Peter Falk, despite being a fantastic actor, is miscast in a role more suited for a younger Henry Winkler or John Ritter type. 

Directed by DIRTY DOZEN and KISS ME DEADLY veteran Robert Aldrich, MARBLES is a fairly decent road picture. A number of scenes are shot through a dilapidated car's murky windshield, passing through a melancholy industrial landscape as the trio discuss their next gig, ultimately pitted against a pair of equally talented wrestlers, backed by a mafia wreck played by Burt Young and his bulky henchman Lenny Montana, best known as Luca Brasi from THE GODFATHER. Meanwhile, Aldrich seems more comfortable with Falk's road-roaming monologues than the pivotal wrestling matches, filmed mostly in benign wide shots. Feeling like part of the live audience or a television viewer, it's difficult to get fully into the struggle of the both women, who not only pay their bruised dues but is why ALL THE MARBLES is worth checking out.
Angela Aames as the big breasted bombshell that we're supposed to believe is crazy about midget Peter Falk... nice to see her tho
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