by Sherif Awad
Cairo, Egypt, 1981, 1982… Peter Falk was locally quite popular and known after the weekly airing of his hit TV series Columbo since the beginning of the 1970s. In downtown’s Metro cinema, his new film ALL THE MARBLES was released to great success for this reason and many others: The film’s poster featured Falk in the middle of two beautiful young women with a more attractive alternative Arabic title: THE BEAUTIFUL WILD WOMEN; The film also featured many women in wrestling scenes as the story had him playing Harry Sears, the manager of The California Dolls, a female wrestling tag team who tour America, hoping for a chance at winning big time. And so, our manager of Metro cinema kept on re-releasing ALL THE MARBLES whenever another film is flopped at his box office in order for his cinema to overcome its loss at ticket sales.
Cairo, Egypt, nowadays… Thanks to the technology to the internet and social media, www.MeetingVenus.com has succeeded to connect with one of the two beautiful ladies who co-starred in ALL THE MARBLES: Laurene Landon.
Born in Toronto, Canada, Landon’s family moved to the United States when she was four. Tall and blond with beautiful blue eyes, she started modelling for three years when she was in college. However, she found it too boring to stand still in front of camera lenses all the time and so she looked for another practice where she can express herself. After starting as an extra in Hollywood’s movies, Landon landed the role of Molly, one of the female wrestlers in ALL THE MARBLES, which became her breakthrough role. Landon and her co-star Vicki Frederick, a professional dancer, succeeded to beat 2000 girls and other stars of the era like Katheleen Turner in sharing the lead with Peter Falk. However, when it was first released, the film was a US box office disappointment yet was successfully received overseas, being rereleased and retitled as THE CALIFORNIA DOLLS. “The original title was only understood by Amercan audience,” remembers Laurene Landon who did not understand the title ALL THE MARBLES when she first read the script. “They made a mistake opening it against the World Series that year and so I remember staying at home to watch The Dodgers’ game and never make it to the premiere!”.
Along with the late and great Peter Falk, Laurene London worked with another Hollywood’s great filmmaking master like director Robert Aldrich (Kiss Me Deadly, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, The Dirty Dozen) who was planning a sequel to ALL THE MARBLES but the film’s underachievement and his passing away two years later prevented him from doing so. “When I first met Aldrich, I thought he was Robert Altman,” laughed Laurene who was only nineteen years old and didn’t see Aldrich’s previous movies. “During the film’s shooting, we needed to fly all over the United States. But Peter Falk and I were were terrified from flying and so we use sat down together in the economy class holding down to each other”.
Like many beautiful young ladies venturing in modelling and acting, Laurene Landon was given the opportunity to travel to faraway places from the US like France, Switzerland and Spain where she filmed her starring roles in YELLOW HAIR AND THE FORTRESS OF GOLD (1984) and its sequel HUNDRA (1983). After co-starring in MANIAC COP I and II, one should not that Lauren Landon took a hiatus from 1991 until 2006. The reason why is not mentioned in her biography. “I needed to take a long time off to take care of my mother who became ill and my father who had cancer”, revealed Lauren who recently became more active again. Comparing Hollywood now and then, Lauren Landon who started in the 1970s still loves old fashioned stars like Brando and Cagney and still misses filming on celluloid. “Digital is deletable.”, she says. “There is also excessive violence in new films and current video games. Every week and so, there is a shooting incident somewhere. It’s out of control”.
Next for her Nation’s Fire along with the great Bruce Dern and the horror flick Agramon’s Gate.