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Scalli is a gangster who manages women wrestlers as a front for his bookmaking, drug, and prostitution rackets. He trusts the wrong people and ends up trying to run away from both the police and mysterious mob boss Mr. Big, to whom he owes $35,000. This film features real-life wrestlers Peaches Page, Clara Mortensen (world champion wrestler), and Rita Martinez (champion of Mexico). Written by
Vance Kochenderfer <email@example.com>
You'll watch the wrestling footage as a way to punish yourself for having indecent thoughts.
"Racket Girls" purports to be a searing inside look at the seamy side of Women's Professional Wrestling. So instead of "High School Confidential", we get "Head Lock Confidential".
Heh, I slay me.
Anyway, "Racket Girls" features a whole lot of mannish women rassling the hell out of each other. This might seem like an intriguing prospect to those of you (I won't name names - you know who you are) that found erotic possibilities in those goofy soft-core 'catfighting' picture collections that were on the newsstands 30 years ago.
Naaah. Imagine Captain Lou Albano vs. Mad Dog Raschon, only 150 lbs lighter and with boobs. Film it in grainy black and white and subtract all the showbiz gimmicks and any decent stunts. You would watch this kind of action in order to punish yourself for having indecent thoughts.
The plot? Well, "Racket Girls" follows the career of up-and-coming wrestler "Peaches" Page as she struggles for success and recognition. Peaches has a nice hair-do, a huge rack, impeccably plucked and shaped eyebrows, and an expression of amiable and invincible stupidity. She is the best thing about the film.
"Racket Girls" also follows the antics of her new manager "Sculli" and his stereotypical immigrant Italian sidekick "Joe" as they wheel and deal in the shadowy world of gambling while using Women's Wrestling as a front. Supporting Sculli in his efforts are a turtle faced grandma with the body of a 20 year old, an accountant named "Monk" who obsesses about other peoples' apartments, the enigmatic "Mr. Big", who sends Micheal Stipe to threaten Sculli at random moments in the screen play, and an assortment of stone faced women in undergarments who do the actual wrestling.
But Sculli overreaches himself - he 'buckets' too many bets, and he tries to bribe "World Champion" Clara Mortenson into throwing her match, and this brings punishment swift and merciless. Peaches bails out on him 10 minutes before the end (never to be seen again) and Sculli comes to a bad end in a hail of bullets and "Hop Along Cassidy Run Away Stage Coach" music. (Or alternatively, as Mike and the Bots would have it, "the Ukranian National Anthem").
I'm making it sound better than it is, believe it or not. This little nugget was hermetically sealed to prevent any trace of actual emotion or humanity from reaching the celluloid. Cast members declaimed their lines as if they were reading them from cue cards for the first time, and you get a sense that there weren't a lot of 2nd takes or film left over on the cutting room floor when the editors were done.
I never would have seen this, except as an episode on MST3K, and their coverage adds a desperately needed element of humor and irony to watching it - in fact, I feel this is one of their best "post Joel" sessions. I can't imagine anyone watching "Racket Girls" for any other reasons - if you have a yen for old school B-and-W epics, there are dozens of better Republic serials and gangster flicks to choose from. In fact, of all the MST oldies, only "I Accuse My Parents" would be of less interest to a modern day audience.
Still, Peaches is a striking figure, and we will never know what happened to her, or whether she was really as uncomprehending and cement-brained as she appeared here....so in empathy for a mysterious, possibly tragic film figure (not you, Dick Contino), I give it an extra couple of stars. 3 out 10.
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