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