This week’s topic may just be the oldest thing ever inducted into our hallowed halls.
It’s older than WWE.
It’s older than the WWF.
It’s older than the WWWF.
It’s even older than the Capitol Wrestling Corporation.
…it’s a T&A flick from 1951.
…or, “Pin-Down Girl”…
…or, “Blonde Pick-up”…
…was a 70-minute long excuse for men to look at a swell-looking bunch of dames in basically underwear.
Its trailer promised a “raw” look inside the dressing room of lady wrestlers, but anyone who believed a movie made under the Hays Code would feature anything of the sort…
…is about as gullible as anyone who thought the XFL would actually show locker room footage of its cheerleaders, instead of some dumb sketch featuring Rodney Dangerfield in a towel.
The movie opens with five minutes of women’s wrestling featuring no dialogue, lots of rest holds…
…this bizarre head-scissors orgy…
…and just about the worst back body drop you’ll ever see.
A big chunk of this film consists of women’s wrestling footage presented without comment. Take, for example, this match between “Panther Woman” and “Leopard Lady”…
…neither of whom is afforded dialogue or additional scenes or an imaginative name.
Another big chunk of the film consists of various broads with no dialogue exercising in a small gym and showing off their gams.
The first semblance of plot appears when wrestling promoter Mr. Scalli recruits a new starlet named “Peaches” to be his protege and lady friend after seeing her wrestle in the opening scene.
Call me crazy, but I swear Peaches’ nickname has something to do with her large breasts. It’s just a hunch (which is what Peaches might develop if she’s not careful with her posture).
Peaches has a problem, though: she keeps getting into situations that require her to take off her clothes.
Here, she’s getting changed into wrestling gear…
…which is not, incidentally, the outfit she’s wearing in the next scene.
Here, she’s taking off her (original) wrestling gear while Ruby, the head tomato at Scalli’s gym, teaches her what a towel is for.
Here, she’s naked under a towel (a different one) for a massage.
Here’s, she’s taking off her blouse for an outdoor workout…
…which consists of jumping rope…
…and jogging, twenty-some years before the invention of the sports bra.
Scalli’s underling Joe even shows Peaches a few pointers (and vice versa).
Peaches also has another problem: she’s really stupid. She refuses to believe her new man(ager), Mr. Scalli, has ulterior motives, no matter how many times Ruby warns her that he only wants to use her (perhaps by casting her in a low-budget exploitation film).
Ruby even tells her about how he got a friend of hers hooked on pills, then, to pay off her debts, made her a “hostess” at a “cabaret.” He didn’t mean emceeing, either. No, she’d have to make the businessmen customers “feel more at home”, to “keep them company”, “have a few drinks, and then…” While no one outright says the P-word, or the H-word, or the W-word, we all know what they’re talking about.
“But, he wants me to be his girl!” says Peaches.
To be fair, if she didn’t question the cameraman filming her on the rowing machine for twenty whole seconds, you’ve got to expect her to be just a little naïve.
(By the way, what’s with female wresting personalities being named, “Peaches”? “Mad Bull” called his love interest Peaches…
…Sandman’s wife called herself Peaches…
…and Eric Bischoff called one of his HLs Peaches.
What is so special about “Peaches”? Would “Melons” be too on the nose?)
But it turns out this movie isn’t really about Peaches, or any of the other dolls, or even wrestling, for that matter.
It’s really about organized crime. I wouldn’t describe the portrayal as “gritty,” exactly, but it rhymes with it.
See, Scalli’s management of lady wrestlers is just a front.
A front for illegal activities, that is, ranging from the aforementioned drug-dealing and prostitution to gambling and money-laundering. And his whole organization is crooked all the way down.
For starters, says Monk the bookkeeper, one of Scalli’s female bookies is “bucketing” money from bets, a slang term that doesn’t exactly convey discreetness in one’s thievery. Then again, when you look at the size of the cans these girls are already lugging around, would a bucket really stand out that much?
And you can tell Scalli’s crooked by the way he pays off his bookkeeper after he gets this info. Of course, he’s already paying his salary anyway, but just listen to their tone of voice. You can just tell something not-on-the-level is going on!
Monk is crooked, too, as you can infer from shots of him marking cards and tampering with dice.
Plus, he’s secretly part of a gang run by the shady individual known as “Mr. Big,” from whom Scalli has been bucketing money to the tune of $35,000. Just how shady is Mr. Big?
That’s him sitting in the shadows with his back to the camera.
Still can’t see him? Here, let me enhance the photo:
And you know just about anybody is crooked who calls his boss, “Boss.”
But Scalli himself is probably the biggest villain, not just for pimping out his female talent, and not just for slapping women and threatening to have them beaten up…
…but for making poor Joe tamper with race horses under threat of peanut-vending. No, seriously. Joe initially refuses to have any part in the shenanigans, claiming he could go to prison for seven or eight years, but he relents when faced with the alternative: selling peanuts at the arena. “Not that! Anything but that!”
Presumably to win some bets, Scalli tries to pay some lady wrestlers to fix their upcoming match. Those ladies are real-life wrestlers Rita Martinez, from Mexico, and Clara Mortensen, from six inches under Denver.
He offers each woman a bribe to take a dive, and both times he is flatly rejected.
And both times, the lady in question delivers a filibuster about the unshakeable integrity of women’s wrestling, one of the few legitimate sports remaining.
“You think because I am Mexican that you can take advantage of me,” says Rita, “but I am no fool!”
And with that, she slams her fist politely on Scalli’s desk and leaves in a huff.
Clara tries to convince Peaches to leave Scalli’s gym and vows to run him out of business.
“You don’t seem to like Scally,” says Peaches. No, toots, ya don’t say! And, with twenty minutes remaining in the film, that’s the last we see of the supposed star.
Next, for a full ten minutes, we see a match between Mortensen and Martinez in its entirety, which ends with a series of really, uh, “gritty” scoop slams.
Of course, the bout has no relevance whatsoever to the plot, since we already knew it was a legit match with nothing to do with Scalli’s crime business.
All this racketeering catches up with Scalli…
…as he is brought before a committee to testify in a room so small they could only fit two actors and 48 stars.
When he gets back to his headquarters, he and Joe try to skip town with all the money in their safe without paying Mr. Big.
This leads to a chase by Mr. Big’s gang.
Joe gets shot in the head…
…while Scalli gets shot in his car, shattering a bottle of chocolate sauce…
…before going to sleep for good on top of a pile of money, with no beautiful ladies.
Finally, Mr. Big’s henchmen are arrested after a shootout with the police.
So the bad guys die, the other bad guys get arrested, and Mr. Big apparently lives long enough to score a #1 single with “To Be With You”.
And what about the “good guys,” the gals from Scalli’s gym? Who knows.
You know, for a movie whose sole purpose is to let lonely men from the 1950s look at a bunch of girls’ tight cabooses, this movie sure does have a lot of loose ends.