Koch Lorber Films.
Director: Ruth Leitman.
Cast: Gladys "Killem" Gillem, The Fabulous Moolah, The Great Mae Young, Ida May Martinez, Penny Banner (II).
Ruth Leitman's humble documentary Lipstick & Dynamite, Piss & Vinegar: The First Ladies of Wrestling
gathers into one movie six genuine characters from the lurid past of professional women's wrestling. Many of the hard-scrabble dames of the '40s and '50s, who wrestled discrimination and harassment outside of the ring, are still alive and body-slamming, including housemates The Fabulous Moolah and The Great Mae Young. 85-year-old Gladys "Killem" Gillem exemplifies the hard-living female wrestler, most of whom came from abusive upbringings and all of whom were exploited by wrestling promoters. What didn't kill her made her strong enough to wrestle lions, alligators, and bears when she left wrestling for the circus. Leitman's film is too shapeless and inconclusive to make a coherent history, but the topic is worthy, and the onslaught of trivia and quirky anecdotes hold interest for the film's 75 minutes. The women are real characters, confessing their most underhanded moves and determinedly moving forward even as they look fondly back.