Robert Aldrich made the best sports movies. Don’t believe me? THE LONGEST YARD. Period. I don’t even care about football and that movie makes me care a lot about football. Need an Exhibit B? Check this one out.
…ALL THE MARBLES is a movie where Peter Falk manages a pair of female wrestlers and takes them to a championship win. If you have a weird thing for lady-wrestling, this movie can probably scratch that itch, but if you have a completely understandable thing for Peter Falk, this right here is the motherlode. This is one of his most lovable of all his lovable-rascal roles, which is saying plenty, and he’s far from the only joy to be had here. Both female leads, Vicki Frederick (A CHORUS LINE) and Laurene Landon (from MANIAC COPs 1 & 2!), give really fun, lively, occasionally melancholy performances. Aided by regular veteran collaborators Joseph Biroc (on cinematography duties) and Frank De Vol (on music), Aldrich does what he always does: Make the world in which the movie takes place feel real. This was the final film in the illustrious career of Aldrich, a sentiment-free director, and this is a hell of a note to go out on; funky and peculiar, and charming, against all odds.
…ALL THE MARBLES is available from Warner Archive and screens tonight at 7pm at the new Alamo in Brooklyn.
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