By any measure Marbles is a major disappointment, given the deft casting of Peter Falk as a seedy, selfish and demanding manager of a couple of tag-team women wrestlers (Vicki Frederick and Laurene Landon).
The lead trio does get solid help from Burt Young as a crooked promoter and John Hancock as the decent manager of the opposing team consisting of Tracy Reed and Ursaline Bryant-Young.
For some odd reason, however, director Robert Aldrich and writer Mel Frohman have chosen to portray women’s wrestling as a serious sport, aiming for another Rocky-like climb from obscurity to triumph. It never works for a minute. Except for a busted lip occasionally and a bruise or two, Frederick and Landon are always sprightly, pretty and ready for the road again after each bout.
Though Aldrich sometimes hints of hanky-panky and collusion among the teams, he generally insists that each match is won or lost on ability alone, building the ‘California Dolls’ up to a legitimate contest for the championship in Reno.