Racket Girls, aka Pin-Down Girl (1951)
Released in 1951: Female wrestlers battle it out in the ring as their promoter fights gangster 'Mr. Big' and a Senate crime investigation.
Produced by George Weiss
Directed by Robert C. Dertano
Written by Robert C. Dertano
The Actors: Peaches Page (herself, Peaches Page), Timothy Farrell (Umberto Scalli), Clara Mortensen (herself, 1951 Wrestling World Champion), Rita Martinez (herself, 1951 Mexico Champion), Muriel Gardner (Ruby McKenzie), Don Ferrara (Joe the Jockey), Matt Douglas (mobster Ronnie), Paul Merton (bookkeeper Monk), Bruce Spencer (gangster Eddie), Tony Zarro (mobster Lefty), Mary Jean Walker (Jackie the bookie), William Lamont (Senate investigator), Phil Bernard (gang leader Mr. Big), Jimmy Lennon Sr. (Jimmy Lennon), Phil Solomon (himself, wrestling referee), Doris Ives (Beverly, unemployed girl)
Fake or Real?
Is professional wrestling a legitimate athletic sport . . . or is it staged entertainment? I'm not talking about high school and college wrestling . . . I mean the wrestling that you know you watch on that cable television channel . . . the wrestling shows where you are soon shouting encouragement to your favorite fighter as you get totally engrossed in the action . . . I know a fellow who currently owns a bar in the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio that for several years wrestled professionally under the name 'Kodiak' because he usually had a chunk of Kodiak chewing tobacco in his mouth. He was a high school athlete who had dreams of playing professional football and being a professional wrestler, and for a couple of years he lived his dream, touring with the big organization that promotes wrestling matches on television and in arenas around the country. I don't recall ever discussing the question with him, but he often complains about his back that causes him almost continuous pain as a result of all the times he was slammed to the floor by an opponent. I know that whether or not the outcomes are determined before the fight begins . . . the punishment that the wrestlers inflict on each other is often even worse than it appears . . . And it isn't just the men who beat each other up regularly on television and in local arenas . . . There is a tradition of women wrestlers that is not a new phenomenon, as this 1951 movie shows. I'll be the first one to warn you that this story is not Oscar-winning material, but it is a fascinating view of the real women wrestlers from half a century ago . . . Sure, the plot with the gangsters is pretty dumb . . . the scenery is better on most high school plays . . . the acting will not win any awards . . . but the wrestling . . . it is as real as it gets. Most of the people you will see were real female wrestlers, including the 1951 World Champion Clara Mortensen and the Mexican Champion Rita Martinez. The other females in this movie were all either wrestlers or gals who made a living because of the lady fighters, including female wrestler Peaches Page, the credited leading lady of the film . . . So . . . while I can't offer you a grand mind-expanding drama full of pathos and laughter and tears . . . I can offer you a historic and amazing window into the real world of lady wrestling from 1951 where you will meet the real female wrestlers in real wrestling bouts from the pioneer days of female wrestling . . . along with some lame crime drama to fill the spaces between the fighting ladies writhing around in the ring. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the fight.
Clara Mortensen in 1951
Clara Mortensen, Phil Solomon and Rita Martinez
Don Ferrara and Timothy Farrell
Don Ferrara and Peaches Page
Muriel Gardner and Peaches Page
Peaches Page and Don Ferrara
Peaches Page and Muriel Gardner
Peaches Page meets Timothy Farrell
Timothy Farrell and Muriel Gardner
Timothy Farrell and Rita Martinez
Timothy Farrell and William Lamont