Lipstick and Dynamite: Piss and Vinegar is a 2005 documentary by Ruth Leitman that follows around some of the women wrestlers from the 1950’s – 1970’s. Thanks go out to my uncle for passing this DVD on to me over a year ago – I only recently had the chance to watch it and I’m glad that I did. As a wrestling fan, I’m always interested in learning more about the beginnings of the sport when it existed as part of the local carnivals or as sideshows. For their part, women wrestlers were an even bigger attraction than the regular men wrestlers.
Leitman interviews women wrestling legends like The Fabulous Moolah and Johnny Mae Young. Current wrestling fans are sure to recognize those two WWE Hall of Famers, but I found myself most intrigued during the documentary by the women like Gladys “Kill ’em” Gillem. Gillem was, in today’s terms, a jobber – or a wrestler whose “job” it is to lose and make their opponent look great in the process. Also, the bitterness that some of the older women wrestlers have towards Moolah is interesting. As one of the women wrestlers put it, “Moolah loves money. That’s the perfect name for her.”
I certainly wouldn’t begrudge anyone from making money at their chosen profession, but some of these women are definitely bitter about Moolah’s long-term success. The women wrestlers commented on how Moolah and Young’s presence in WWE in the early 2000’s in actual wrestling matches takes away from the accomplishments of the women’s wrestling movement. I don’t know if I necessarily agree (especially when groups like TNA are bringing back real women’s wrestling). By the way, Moolah passed away last year so some of these topics are a moot point now.
Fans will enjoy hearing the stories about one of the original promoters of “girl wrestling” and how he manipulated the sport so that his wife could retain the title. Moolah talks at length about her disgust for this guy and how she was glad to take the title from his wife and then put him out of business. At that time, Moolah became the number one trainer, promoter, and booker of women wrestlers in the world.
I have to recommend this DVD to any wrestling fan who thinks more of the sport than just a generic set of moves leading to a generic ending to a generic match. This is a DVD that follows around these women wrestlers and talks about the many hardships that they had to endure during the early years of their business. If you enjoy knowing more about the wrestling business than just what you see on Monday, Thursday, or Friday nights, then you’ll enjoy this DVD.