Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Below The Belt (1980)

I've seen a few films about professional wrestling, and starring wrestlers, and they are all pretty awful... except for Below The Belt which follows Rosa (Regina Baff) as she leaves her dead-end life in New York to join the (wrestling) circus.

However this isn't the glitzy and media rich world of the WWE nowadays, this is the rather lo-fi wrestling scene of the 1970s (the film was made in 1974 though not released until 1980). Wrestlers did the hard yards travelling from town to town living out of a suitcase, shedding blood for a baying crowd for a handful of dollars. Although about wrestling this film can be seen more as a road movie... with head locks.

The relationships of the wrestlers makes this movie, the new blood and the old soaks. Hopes and dreams... for some still burning bright, for others fast fading away.

It's a terrific film, dosed in 1970s Americana: big cars pounding endless freeways, popcorn stands in grubby arenas in the back of small towns. Easily the best wrestling film I've seen, of course that doesn't mean much considering the competition. Just trust me that this obscure film really is pretty special. Like Rosa, the film might not look much but it's got it where it counts.