February 16, 1990
QUESTION: Why did Bette Midler take a swipe at the acting talents of Barbara Stanwyck? I can’t believe Bette would do anything like that just because she’s now starring in a remake of one of Stanwyck’s old weepies. â€” C.O.
ANSWER: That episode got blown up in the telling. Truth is, Midler has the highest regard for Stanwyck’s acting. What happened is lhat Bette, whose new movie, “Stella,” is a loose redo of Stanwyck’s “Stella Dallas,” was talking about the clothes Barbara wore in the earlier flick, not her talent.
“The challenge in ‘Stella’ was to strike just the right tone, to keep it all real looking,” says Midler. “My dresses weren’t created for the movie; they came right out of junk shops, the Salvation Army and Goodwill.
Barbara was very endearing in ‘Stella Dallas, but I think she was out to lunch with her clothes. Poor people, even if they could sew,Â wouldn’t have had the outfits she wore in the picture.”