November 16, 1979
If the Rolling Stones were considered to be the antithesis of the clean cut Beatles, then Bette Midler would have to be the flip-side of Barbra Streisand. Midler’s first major starring vehicle, The Rose‘ from Twentieth Century Fox, opened last week all across the country.
The Rose’ explores the rock ‘n’ roll scene in the late 1960s as seen through the eyes of a foulmouthed, fast-living southern belle whose lifestyle bears a faint resemblance to the late Janis Joplin.
Midler, who is ‘The Rose,’ dominates the big screen much in the same way Streisand does with farcical sequences involving her manager (Alan Bates) and her cowboy boyfriend (Frederic Forrest). The elaborate sets which mesh with every song Midler sings, enhance her hold over the audience.
Vilmos Zsigmond’s scintillating photography and Paul Rothchild‘s music coordination are to be complimented. Rothchild’s exceptional concert staging, combined with pulsating rock ‘n’ roll music, will help make this flick aÂ legend of sorts.
Although I have my doubts that The Rose’ will get many Oscar nominations because of Midler’s caustic language and herÂ anthem that drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll makes a woman, one gets the feeling that this film might be the quintessential story on the rock era.
One of the few faults in The Rose’ is the casting of Alan Bates. Bates is a talented actor, but his portrayal of Midler’s manager was mediocre at best, simply because nobody understood his English, which is laced with a veryÂ heavy British accent.
Bette will undoubtedly profit from the release of the film’s soundtrack, which should usher in a revival of basic rock ‘n’ roll music.
The Rose,’ which is rated ‘R,’ is obviously not a family film, but if you want to see and relive a part of the tumultuous ’60s, then The Rose’ is a must film to see and experience.