February 28, 2006
Below the Belt (1980)
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling

Starring: Regina Baff, Mildred Burke, John C. Becher
Written by: Rosalyn Drexler (novel), Rob Fowler, Sherry Sonnet
Directed by: Rob Fowler

Mildred Burke was the original combination of "beauty and the beast", a legitimately tough lady who lists the defeat of over 5,000 women and 150 men on her resume. As her career began in the mid-thirties, she resisted an entry into the world of motion pictures, citing a lack of respect for the world of professional wrestling in the projects offered to her. After her retirement, she eventually found herself in the movies after all in Below The Belt, and served as technical advisor for the wrestling scenes in ... All the Marbles as well.

Synopsis by Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide:

"Waitress Regina Baff would do anything to escape her go-nowhere existence. And by 'anything', that means she'd be willing to risk life and limb in the wrestling ring, disguised as 'The Mexican Spitfire' (never mind that she's Polish). Trained by veteran lady wrestler Mildred Burke (playing herself), Baff seeks fame and fortune on the Midwest grappling circuit, finding neither but having a high old time in the process. Based on Rosalyn Drexler's novel To Smithereens, Below the Belt was mostly filmed in 1974, but not released until after the Rocky pictures took hold."

Dave Hillhouse is a screenwriter and teacher, and can be emailed at hillhouse_slam@hotmail.ca -- SLAM! Wrestling.


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