Films, TV, and Theatre



Jinxed! (1982)

Black comedy starring Bette Midler, Ken Wahl and Rip Torn. A gambler's mistress and a casino dealer concoct a plan to get rid of her nasty, violent lover.

Stars: Bette Midler, Ken Wahl, Rip Torn, Jack Elam
Director: Don Siegel

TV Guide

Rip Torn portrays a gambler whose scheming girlfriend, Bette Midler, concocts a plan with casino dealer Ken Wahl, to do in her lover and collect an inheritance. Unfortunately, Torn, the funniest character in the film, is dead after the first hour, leaving this weak script dragging. This picture really lived up to its name. Reportedly, Midler and Wahl struck up a bitter rivalry off the screen over "creative differences." That may be the reason their relationship on the screen is not very believable. Midler does fit in a couple of songs.




Variety Staff

They tried and tried to come up with a better title for Jinxed !, but somehow they kept returning to the only one that was fitting. The exclamation point emphasizes the totality of the disaster. Director Don Siegel's w.k. disillusionment with the project is fully understandable.

Idea seems to have been a darkly comic version of The Postman Alway Rings Twice, with perhaps a touch of A Place in the Sun.

Set in Loserville, USA, represented by Reno, tale presents casino dealer Ken Wahl as the hapless victim of seedy gambler Rip Torn. Once Torn sits down at his blackjack table, Wahl knows he'll soon be out of a job, such is the fantastic luck his tormentor enjoys. Torn also gives grief to his smalltime singer g.f. Bette Midler, who is sufficiently taken with Wahl's charms to rope him into a scheme, a la James M. Cain, to bump off her lover.

TV Times

The title of this comedy flop says it all. The off-screen fighting betwen the stars was so intense that nothing could save this disaster. Its star, Bette Midler, had been Oscar nominated for her work in The Rose. Apart from a concert footage film, this was her next project and explains her lack of offers for the next few years. The plot is wafer-thin. Midler's a lounge singer in a casino. Her boyfriend, played by Rip Torn, giving the best performance in the film, is a vicious character who beats her up. He also has an enemy in casino dealer Ken Wahl, as each time he sits at Wahl's table, he wins, which could cost Wahl his job. So Midler and Wahl plot to kill Torn - and pocket a hefty inheritance. On the face of it, the role of a singer in a sleazy casino should have suited the Divine Miss M, whose trademark at the time was to be flashy and trashy, but the script is so bad there's little she can do with it. The great Don Siegel's last film and a sad note on which to bow out.