The story of the 'California Dolls' a women's tag team wrestling group and their manager, Harry, who spends countless hours trying to find them work. Barely scraping by, the three of them drive around the industrial cityscapes looking for their shot at respectability. Robert Aldrich's last feature once again shows his willingness to tackle any story and make it compelling. ..All the Marbles is essentially an underdog story which is really elevated by the always fantastic, Peter Falk. The banter which exists between Harry and his two wrestling companions alone is worth the price of admission, but what really elevates the whole thing is the relationship which exists between the three of them. Being near broke, their relationship is almost always tumultuous, yet Harry clearly cares deeply for the two woman. He's terrible at showing it, routinely getting into massive arguments with the girls, even striking them out of anger, yet it's clear he just doesn't know how to do things any other way. Falk's deserves a ton of credit for making this a character you root for even with all his flaws. Thematically, the film touches on the fact that women far too often are viewed almost entirely for their looks, often times being discredited for their abilities. The California Girls feel exploited for their looks, struggling to be viewed as serious wrestlers, not just pretty girls and Aldrich subtely suggests that this is a major problem in our male-driven society. While the film is brainier than some would lead you to beleive, this is definitely a crowd-pleaser. The film is quite funny and I was amazed by just how riveting the Championship match was. Incredibly overlooked, ".. All the Marbles" is another strong effort by Robert Aldrich, who once again proves that anything can make a good story if told right.
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