EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|BELOW THE BELT (director/writer: Robert Fowler; screenwriter: from the novel To Smithereens, Below the Belt by Rosalyn Dexter/Sherry Sonnett; cinematographer: Alan Metzger; editor: Steven Zaillian; music: Jerry Fielding; cast: Regina Baff (Rosa Rubinsky), Millie Burke (Herself), John C. Becher (Bobby Fox), James Gammon (Luke), Jane O'Brien ("Terrible" Tommy J Dukes), Frazer Smith (Terry Glance), Dolph Sweet (LeRoi), Shirley Stoler (Trish), Annie McGreevey (Lee Darling/The Beautiful Boomerang), Ray Scott (Himself), K.C. Townsend (Thalia), Titi Paris (Hilda), Gregory Rozakis (Beer vender), Paul Brennan (Stepfather), The Firesign Theatre (Themselves), Billie Mahoney (Jean Burly/The Greatest), Sierra Pecheur (Verne Vavoom); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Robert Fowler; MGM; 1980)|
|"Enjoyable despite its
by Dennis Schwartz
Fowler directs a
feel-good lady wrestling road pic that's ahead of its
time. It's enjoyable despite its slightness. The
low-budget indie was shot in 1974, but not released
until 1980. It's the semi-autobiographical account of a New York
City waitress who becomes a pro lady wrestler. It's
based on the novel To Smithereens, Below
the Belt by Rosalyn Dexter. Fowler co-writes the
engaging screenplay with Sherry Sonnett.
Bobby Fox (John C. Becher)
witnesses waitress Rosa Rubinsky (Regina
Baff, known primarily as a stage actress)
dispatch a rowdy male customer outside her restaurant
and talks her into making a career move as a pro
wrestler. The Polish Rosa is now called Rosa Carlo
"The Mexican Spitfire," and tours the country. Rosa's
trainer is Millie Burke, a real-life pro lady
are lots of wrestling matches and colorful wrestlers,
it captures the ups and downs of life on the road, and
it re-creates the seedy wrestling atmosphere. It goes
out of its way to show how far from glamorous is the
lifestyle, and tells us that most of the ladies are in
the business for fame and fortune. It builds to
Rosa ending her year-long apprenticeship with her
first pro fight in Birmingham, Alabama, with an old
favorite in the lady pro circuit, Tommy "The Terrible"
(Jane O'Brien). After booed
when entering the ring, Rosa defeats the hometown
favorite and leaves her lying unconscious on the mat.
The crowd in appreciation stand and shout out Rosa's
name in adulation, as a new star is born.
For comic relief you can
also hear (but not see) the four members of the comedy
troupe The Firesign Theatre. There's also wall-to-wall
genial background music, with a wonderful Billy
Preston belting out a few tunes.
REVIEWED ON 5/19/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ