...All the Marbles (1981)

R | 112 mins | Comedy | 16 October 1981

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HISTORY

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, actresses Vicki Frederick and Laurene Landon trained prior to filming with Mildred Burke, who was the undefeated Women’s Champion of Wrestling for eighteen years. Actresses Tracy Reed and Ursaline Bryant-King play a rival team, the “Toledo Tigers,” in the film, but the other female wrestlers are played by professional female wrestlers and trainers.
       Items in the 21 Aug 1980 DV, the 3 Sep 1980 Var and the 28 Nov 1980 HR reported that filming, originally scheduled for the summer of 1980, was delayed by a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike. Principal photography began 14 Nov 1980 in OH, and other locations including NV, and the M-G-M Studios in Los Angeles, CA. The 28 Jan 1981 Var noted that filmmakers planned to use the M-G-M Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, NV; however, a 1980 fire at the hotel necessitated a move to the M-G-M Grand in Reno, NV. Principal photography was completed 24 Feb 1981.
       Production notes reported a planned release date of 31 Jul 1981, but the 5 Oct 1981 HR announced that the film was set to open 16 Oct 1981. An article in the 21 Oct 1981 HR stated the film’s opening weekend box-office gross was estimated at $1.7 million in 925 theaters. The Dec 1981 Rolling Stone named …All The Marbles as one of the “Twenty-four Films that Bombed in 1981.” An article in the 9-15 Dec 1981 Village Voice listed the film among its “Disasters” of the fall 1981 releases and ... More Less

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, actresses Vicki Frederick and Laurene Landon trained prior to filming with Mildred Burke, who was the undefeated Women’s Champion of Wrestling for eighteen years. Actresses Tracy Reed and Ursaline Bryant-King play a rival team, the “Toledo Tigers,” in the film, but the other female wrestlers are played by professional female wrestlers and trainers.
       Items in the 21 Aug 1980 DV, the 3 Sep 1980 Var and the 28 Nov 1980 HR reported that filming, originally scheduled for the summer of 1980, was delayed by a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike. Principal photography began 14 Nov 1980 in OH, and other locations including NV, and the M-G-M Studios in Los Angeles, CA. The 28 Jan 1981 Var noted that filmmakers planned to use the M-G-M Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, NV; however, a 1980 fire at the hotel necessitated a move to the M-G-M Grand in Reno, NV. Principal photography was completed 24 Feb 1981.
       Production notes reported a planned release date of 31 Jul 1981, but the 5 Oct 1981 HR announced that the film was set to open 16 Oct 1981. An article in the 21 Oct 1981 HR stated the film’s opening weekend box-office gross was estimated at $1.7 million in 925 theaters. The Dec 1981 Rolling Stone named …All The Marbles as one of the “Twenty-four Films that Bombed in 1981.” An article in the 9-15 Dec 1981 Village Voice listed the film among its “Disasters” of the fall 1981 releases and stated the picture should have been released in the summer, not during the weekend of the World Series baseball play-offs and several football games, when its target audience was otherwise engaged. The article noted that …All The Marbles was a film “in which everything was done wrong,” including its subject matter.
       A 15 Jun 1985 LAHExam article titled “TV Dresses Up Movie Duds with New Titles,” reported that …All The Marbles was retitled The California Dolls for television.

      End credits include the following statements: “The Producers wish to express their appreciation for the opportunity of photographing in the following locations: The City of Youngstown, Ohio; The City of Chicago, Illinois; The City of Akron, Ohio; The MGM Grand – Reno, Nevada; The Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles;” and “A special thanks for the extraordinary contribution made by Mildred Burke, World Champion Lady Wrestler from 1937 to 1957.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Nov 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Oct 1981.
---
Hollywood Reporter
21 Oct 1981.
---
LAHExam
15 Jun 1985.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Oct 1981
p. 1.
New York Times
16 Oct 1981
p. 8.
Rolling Stone
Dec 1981.
---
Variety
3 Sep 1980.
---
Variety
28 Jan 1981.
---
Variety
7 Oct 1981
p. 16, 20.
Village Voice
9-15 Dec 1981.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Presents
An Aldrich Company Production
Presented by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
D.G.A. trainee
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d unit dir of photog
2d unit cam op
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Still photog
Best boy
Best boy
2d grip
Arriflex photog equip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Const coord
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst prop master
COSTUMES
Spec cost des
Men's costumer
Women's costumer
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Orig mus
Mus ed
Mus cond
Operatic arias sung by
SOUND
Dial ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Boom op
Boom op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des
Titles and opticals
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Spec seq hair styles
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit pub
Scr supv
Prod secy
Prod office aide
Prod assoc
Loc mgr
Prod's secy
Craft services
First aid
Loc auditor
Transportation coord
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Insert car driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Tech adv, Wrestling seq
Asst tech adv, Wrestling seq
Trainer, Wrestling seq
Trainer, Wrestling seq
Trainer, Wrestling seq
Trainer, Wrestling seq
Trainer, Wrestling seq
Extra casting
Video equip
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
[Col by]
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The California Dolls
Release Date:
16 October 1981
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 16 October 1981
Production Date:
14 November 1980--24 February 1981
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Company
Copyright Date:
23 October 1981
Copyright Number:
PA118426
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
112
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Iris and Molly are “The California Dolls,” a female wrestling team promoted by their manager, Harry. While the girls change clothes after deliberately losing their fight, Harry collects their $250 fee and unsuccessfully tries to schedule another deal with the promoter. While leaving Akron, Ohio, Harry claims he is negotiating a return engagement, but the girls realize he is lying and wonder what they must do to advance beyond the Ohio wrestling circuit. At their next match, against an Asian team, Iris’s back is strained, and they lose again. However, the Asian team’s manager, Clyde Yamashito, is impressed and suggests Harry take the Dolls to Japan where they would be very successful. Later, in the dressing room, Molly offers Iris a pill from her extensive medicine collection. Iris accepts, but warns that Molly is in danger of an overdose. Meanwhile, Harry collects their fee from Eddie Cisco, who withdraws $20 for a “towel and linen service” fee. When Harry demands his full amount, Eddie warns that he will ban Harry and the Dolls from his twenty Ohio arenas. Harry declares they are leaving Ohio, storms away, and, against the girls’ protests, destroys Eddie’s car with a baseball bat. Later, in the girls’ motel room, Molly wonders if she should find another job, but Iris convinces her partner that they are a good team and should be successful or die trying. The next morning, Iris brings coffee to Harry’s room and discovers him entertaining a young woman, who believes his exaggerated success stories. Later, Harry telephones Solly, a Chicago, Illinois, promoter, to make a deal, but she tells ... +


Iris and Molly are “The California Dolls,” a female wrestling team promoted by their manager, Harry. While the girls change clothes after deliberately losing their fight, Harry collects their $250 fee and unsuccessfully tries to schedule another deal with the promoter. While leaving Akron, Ohio, Harry claims he is negotiating a return engagement, but the girls realize he is lying and wonder what they must do to advance beyond the Ohio wrestling circuit. At their next match, against an Asian team, Iris’s back is strained, and they lose again. However, the Asian team’s manager, Clyde Yamashito, is impressed and suggests Harry take the Dolls to Japan where they would be very successful. Later, in the dressing room, Molly offers Iris a pill from her extensive medicine collection. Iris accepts, but warns that Molly is in danger of an overdose. Meanwhile, Harry collects their fee from Eddie Cisco, who withdraws $20 for a “towel and linen service” fee. When Harry demands his full amount, Eddie warns that he will ban Harry and the Dolls from his twenty Ohio arenas. Harry declares they are leaving Ohio, storms away, and, against the girls’ protests, destroys Eddie’s car with a baseball bat. Later, in the girls’ motel room, Molly wonders if she should find another job, but Iris convinces her partner that they are a good team and should be successful or die trying. The next morning, Iris brings coffee to Harry’s room and discovers him entertaining a young woman, who believes his exaggerated success stories. Later, Harry telephones Solly, a Chicago, Illinois, promoter, to make a deal, but she tells him to call back next summer. As the girls jog beside the car, Harry claims that Solly said “maybe” and just needs more time. The Dolls’ next match is in Toledo, Ohio, against “The Toledo Tigers,” who are managed by a former wrestling champion, Big John Stanley. During the fight, Iris takes a beating but manages to overcome the Tigers and the Dolls win. Furious, the Tigers claim they were “supposed” to win. Big John admits he suggested to Harry that the Dolls lose, but since it was not a championship fight, it was not important for the Tigers to be victorious. The Dolls win their next match and, as they continue to travel, Harry insists he is close to making a deal with Solly. Learning that Harry has booked them into a small town carnival as female mud wrestlers, the girls are furious and refuse to fight. However, Harry negotiated a $500 fee and insists the new “price point” will help their careers. He adds that since the carnival is in a small town, no one important will attend. The match devolves into a topless mud fight. Afterwards, at the motel room, Iris blames Harry for her humiliation and starts to hit him, but Harry slaps Iris’s face, and then kisses her. Iris wonders aloud why Harry always hurts her and he has no answer, but she hugs him anyway and wants to make love. The next day, while traveling, they read a magazine article about an upcoming wrestling event in Reno, Nevada, pitting “Big Mama” versus “Superstar.” The headliners will battle for $25,000, while the opening match tag team fighters will wrestle for a $10,000 prize. The magazine also includes an article about the Dolls. Learning they are the third ranked tag team in the nation, just behind the Toledo Tigers and the “Amazon Queens,” Harry calls Solly to book them in the Reno event, but Solly wants to see the Dolls in action first and sets up a match against the Toledo Tigers in Chicago. There, as the Tigers seek revenge for their previous loss, the referee is willing to overlook their misdeeds, and the Tigers win. Afterward, Solly brings Eddie Cisco to the Dolls’ dressing room, announcing that Eddie is coordinating the Reno match. Eddie tries to romance Iris, but she turns him down and he leaves, unconvinced that they can fight in Reno. Later, Iris has drinks with Eddie and suggests that he use the Reno event to promote a “grudge” match between the California Dolls and the reigning tag team champions, the Toledo Tigers. She offers sex to seal the deal. Meanwhile, Harry questions Molly regarding Iris’s whereabouts. Iris returns, informs them that the Dolls will participate in the Reno championships, and admits she had sex with Eddie. Jealous, Harry hits Iris, but she strikes back and leaves. Molly insists that Iris did what was necessary for the team and that it was a difficult sacrifice. Later, Harry realizes he needs more money to back his promotion ideas and asks Molly for her $800 in savings. After he wins at a craps game, two thieves follow him, but Harry grabs his baseball bat, beats them, and takes their money. Harry spends the cash on promotional items and they arrive in Reno, excited to see the California Dolls on the marquee. Inside, Iris refuses a second date with Eddie, provoking him into declaring that the Dolls cannot beat the Tigers. Eddie and Harry place large wagers on the match. In the lobby, Harry moves the poster of headliner Big Mama and replaces it with a poster of the California Dolls. When Big Mama arrives, California Dolls T-shirts and posters are visible everywhere, and Big Mama wonders why her manager never thought of merchandising gimmicks. Harry wants Iris and Molly to make a grand entrance into the arena and insists they keep the dressing room door locked while he takes care of the other promotional details. When Harry leaves, Molly admits that she stopped taking drugs to prepare for the fight, and Iris insists they will win. Meanwhile, Harry pays the arena’s musical director, then works with a group of children who will each earn $40 for participating in the team’s entrance performance. The referee prepares for the fight, making it clear he has an arrangement with Eddie. Announcer “Mean” Joe Greene introduces the match, reminding the crowd that the winning team receives $10,000 and, in the event of a draw, the Toledo Tigers will retain their title. The Tigers enter the ring, carrying their championship belts. Greene introduces the California Dolls, but Iris and Molly do not appear. Harry signals the musician to start the music and the children sing “Oh, You Beautiful Doll” as Iris and Molly, wearing flashy costumes with wings, are carried into the arena on the shoulders of several men. The crowd cheers as Iris and Molly parade around the ring, then discard their wings. During the brutal match, the referee ignores the Tigers’ illegal moves, causing many of the Tigers’ fans to switch allegiance to the Dolls. When Iris is pinned to the mat, she frees herself and flips her opponent onto the referee. The crowd cheers as Iris hits the referee, who looks at Eddie and signals an end to their agreement. With two minutes left in the match, the fight moves outside the ring. The crowd voices disapproval as the Tigers make it back onto the mat within the allotted time. Although the Tigers attempt to keep Molly and Iris from re-entering the ring, the Dolls use an untested “Sunset Flip” maneuver over the ropes and pin the Tigers to the mat. The referee refuses to act, but Harry rouses the crowd to chant the final count, and the California Dolls win. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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