1991 Bette Midler – For The Boys
For the Boys is a 1991 film which traces the life of Dixie Leonard, a 1940s actress/singer who teams up with Eddie Sparks, a famous performer, to entertain American troops.
As in The Rose, Bette Midler‘s first starring role and also a blockbuster quasi-biopic, the film is fiction. However, actress/singer Martha Raye believed that Midler’s character was based on many widely known facts about her life and career with the USO and pursued legal action based on that assumption. After a protracted legal engagement, Raye ultimately lost the case. The Caan character was generally believed to be based on Bob Hope.
The film was adapted by Marshall Brickman, Neal Jimenez, and Lindy Laub from a story by Jimenez and Laub. It was directed by Mark Rydell and the original music score was composed by Dave Grusin. It stars Bette Midler, James Caan, George Segal, Patrick O’Neal, Christopher Rydell, Arye Gross, Norman Fell and (a then-unknown) Vince Vaughn in his film debut, playing a Cheering Soldier in a Crowd.
For her performance, Bette Midler was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. The movie soundtrack features adaptations of many classic songs, including “Come Rain or Come Shine”, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Frank Loesser, “P.S. I Love You”, “I Remember You”, “Every Road Leads Back To You” and the Beatles’ “In My Life”. Many of these have lyrics by Johnny Mercer.
In 2011, the film was adapted for the musical stage by Aaron Thielen and Terry James and debuted at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Illinois.