Tag Archives: Frederic Forrest

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Video: Bette Midler – The Rose Trailer

“The Rose” was first recorded by Bette Midler for the soundtrack of the 1979 film The Rose in which it plays under the closing credits. However the song was not written for the movie: Amanda McBroom recalls, “I wrote it in 1977 [or] 1978, and I sang it occasionally in clubs. … Jim Nabors had a local talk show, and I sang [“The Rose”] on his show once.”[1] According to McBroom she wrote “The Rose” in response to her manager’s suggestion that she write “some Bob Seger-type tunes” to expedite a record deal: McBroom obliged by writing “The Rose” in forty-five minutes. Said McBroom: “‘The Rose’ is … just one verse [musically] repeated three times. When I finished it, I realized it doesn’t have a bridge or a hook, but I couldn’t think of anything to [add].” Read More

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Friday, May 25, 2018

LISTS 10 Best Bette Midler Movies and TV Shows

The Cinemaholic
LISTS: 10 Best Bette Midler Movies and TV Shows
By Team Cinemaholic 6
May 21, 2018


bette midler, wet

Bette Midler is an American songwriter, singer, comedian, film producer and actress. Following a career that revolved around several Off-Off-Broadway shows, she rose to prominence as a singer and has sold over 30 million records worldwide. Bette Midler boasts of a career that spans half a century and has won three Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards and two Tony Awards. Here’s the list of top Bette Midler movies.


10. Outrageous Fortune (1987)

Outrageous Fortune is about a man with two women in his life who disappears and they go out looking for him. Directed by Arthur Hiller, it also stars Shelley Long and Robert Prosky.


9. Down and out in Beverly Hills (1986)

Down and Out in Beverly Hills is about a homeless man who tries to drown himself in the pool of a rich couple who save him and welcome him in their house. The film is directed by Paul Mazursky and also Nick Nolte and Little Richard.

8. For the Boys (1991)

A US entertainer, with the help of a singer and dancer, tours to entertain the soldiers during World War II. For the Boys is directed by Mark Rydell and also casts James Caan and George Segal.


7. The First Wives Club (1996)

Reunited due to the death of a friend, three women decide to revenge their husbands who dumped them for younger women. Directed by Hugh Wilson, The First Wives Club also stars Goldie Hawn and Maggie Smith.


6. Big Business (1988)

Two sets of twins are born in a hospital on the same night to two different families and get mixed up due to a drunk nurse. Big Business is directed by Jim Abrahams and also stars Lily Tomlin and Fred Ward.


5. The Thorn (1971)

The Thorn is a religious comic satire. It is directed by Peter McWilliams and also stars John Bassberger and John Greenberg.


4. Beaches (1998)

The strong friendship between two people coming from very different backgrounds. Beaches is directed by Garry Marshall and also stars Barbara Hershey and John Heard.


3. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat try to put an end to the terror of three witches, who have resurrected after 300 years. Hocus Pocus is directed by Kenny Ortega and also stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy.

2. Ruthless People (1986)

A businessman cheats and a couple and the couple takes the revenge by kidnappinghis wife, but they don’t know that he is happy they did so. Also starring Danny DeVito and Judge Reinhold, Ruthless People is directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker.

1. The Rose (1979)

A female rock star, whose manager is ruthless and pressurizes her constantly, destructs her life with drugs and alcohol. Directed by Mark Rydell, The Rose also stars Alan Bates and Frederic Forrest.

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Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Rose: “You Know You Are In The Presence Of A Brilliant, Once-In-A-Lifetime Performer”

Brattle Theatre Film Notes
The Rose
By Leo Racicot
March 1, 2016



Bette Midler is tiny; so tiny (5’1″) that surprise is what you feel seeing her in person. I have been blessed to watch her do her thing live many times in many different places and always come away on Cloud Nine thinking, “How does that great, big voice and all that tremendous energy come out of that little sprite?” But Midler’s stature belies the power of her spirit. Oftentimes I have witnessed that spirit fireball out of a theater or arena to where it ascends and covers the place in a protective bubble of vitality and verve. In other words, no stadium, no opera house, no hall, however cavernous, can contain her infectious energy. I watched in awe one time when she was first staring out in her career, appear before what had to be, for her, a disappointing Symphony Hall crowd (the place was maybe a third full). That girl worked her tail off like you would not believe, strutting and camping, doing cartwheels, belting songs to the rafters, sending her now-trademark Hawaiian bolo balls into orbit, carrying on an absolute storm. You’d swear she was performing for a crowd of 18,000 at Madison Square Garden. Her energy and work ethic, her drive and desire to please are unearthly. No tiny, little sprite!

When she burst onto the scene in the early1970s, Bette Midler brought a unique, never-ending party to an America neck-deep in an economic depression, lifted us up out of the doldrums with her prescient remakes of The Andrews’ Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood”, The Dixie Cups’ “Chapel of Love” and of course, her mega-cover of Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Want to Dance?” Magic!

Nothing short of iconic was the cover of her self-titled debut album—the slinky, black dress, red frizzy crown of hair and probably THE highest platform shoes in existence—all spoke “sassy”, “savvy” and “the most fun you have ever had or will ever have ever.” To this day, I can think of no entertainer like her. There are pretenders to the Midler throne—most recently Katy Perry, Lady Gaga—but in my humble opinion, no one holds a candle to the light emanating from The Divine Miss M.

She brings that special light, that unbridled energy, that uncompromising work ethic in spades to her portrayal of the musician superstar known as The Rose in Mark Rydell’s searing movie bio of the same name. Rydell (who crafted many fine films over the years including the lovely, elegiac ON GOLDEN POND) here ushers us into the lurid world of rock stardom excess, a dazzling but destructive world that takes under its wings gifted but troubled people lost in their own insecurities and uncertain egos. In this instance, it is Mary Rose Foster (Midler) whose great, blazing voice makes her a top-tier performer but whose troubled childhood makes her a flawed human being. Comparisons to 60s rock/jazz legend, Janis Joplin and her story were inevitable. And though at first denied by Rydell, Midler and the movie’s producers, comparisons do exist. Let us say THE ROSE was “inspired by” Joplin’s life but its accuracy falls deliberately short of hitting that bullseye—Midler’s performance style is very different from Joplin’s, the particulars of The Rose’s life also different from Janis’s. The strong, determined Midler made THE ROSE her own creation, not a copy of Joplin, her passionate, natural depiction culled from raw reaching—Midler had no professional training as an actor or a singer and seems by the very force of her will and own personal history to send a performance erupting up and out from the volcano of her own gut instincts. She is a wonder to behold.

In the movie’s musical interludes Midler sings and moves with a fever. She sends her notes out with such a force, such a frenzy, with such unbridled heat, she scorches the screen in numbers like “Midnight in Memphis”, “Love Me With a Feeling” and the heartbreaking “Stay With Me”. In other scenes she crafts brilliant musical vignettes, campy and touching. She can take you on a journey from elation to heartache in a split second. With a sidelong look, a shrug, a sigh, a whisper, a plea from her tiny, doll-like hands, she makes you feel as if you know her, and that she knows you; all her own emotions are your emotions. A great comedienne, she knows her flawless timing, her sometimes dangerous eyes can slay you and so she brings these qualities to Rose. And time and again, she gets away with telling the filthiest, bawdiest, raunchiest jokes without sacrificing her grace or her femininity.We tolerate the F-bomb from Midler because she reminds us of how playful it can be when delivered without malice. Or maybe it is just that everything that comes out of her mouth is hilarious!

Midler is a staged concoction of every rock, folk, pop, vaudeville, Hollywood musical, Folies Bergere creation ever imagined. And the smile. That smile that can light up the whole world. She is a great performer who elevates THE ROSE to greater heights. Her performance is nothing short of terrific, void of any trace of mawkishness, unbearably transcendent. Her raw, honest depiction of a boozing, coked-out, insecure woman/girl is spot-on. Rose lets triumph after triumph wash over her like gold but underneath she is soaked in sweat and regret. Midler shows us the wounded, little child Rose still is, quivering behind the bravado of a star who knows her gifts are superb but her soul is all alone, shattered; she cannot shake the horrors of her past. Few performances in movies capture vulnerability so astutely—Meryl Streep in SOPHIE’S CHOICE comes to mind—but Midler’s somehow seems less contrived, less deliberate. I don’t know. But there is some quality there you do not see too often in motion picture acting.

For Rose, music is her freedom and her jail, her poison and the antidote. Her heartless, money-loving manager, Rudge (the always marvelous Alan Bates) does love her or did once, but clearly now loves his cash cow more and drives her like a carnival ride for his own gain. Salvation (maybe?) comes in the person of Houston Dyer, a likable lug of a drifter played by handsome Frederic Forrest. Houston believes his love or Rose can save her; his honest, tender endearments act as a mirror showing Rose how truly beautiful, how valuable she is. But Rose is coming apart at the seams. She craves real love. But most of all, she wants to entertain, she must entertain her audiences; her allegiance is to them, and to her art, even if it means possibly going under.

Director Rydell captures the world of concert touring perfectly, the non-stop merry-go-round of buses, planes, trains and rented limos. Of bottomless bottles of booze and lines of coke. The film delivers many memorable scenes of how lonely the road can be for musicians. In one unforgettable scene, as Rose’s plane descends into yet another nameless place, she wakes dazed, confused, hung-over, hungry for sleep, peers down and begins to cry, asking, “Where am I ? Where the fuck am I ? I don’t even know where I am…”

THE ROSE is a fine, fine entertainment. It belongs, though, to Bette Midler. See it to see a star being born. When she calls home from a phone booth in the middle of nowhere just to chat with her uninterested mother, when she begs her new boyfriend not to leave her, when she sings the title theme song, which has become one of the great love anthems, you know you are in the presence of a brilliant, once-in-a-lifetime performer.

Leo Racicot Ever since my father took me to the drive-in theater when I was five, I have loved the movies. I am a total movie nut and will watch anything, from the five-and-a-half hour, uncut version of Bertolucci’s 1900 to SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (both are do-able if you pop a NO-DOZ before you hit PLAY). My sister, Diane, who keeps track of these things, says I have watched close to 3,000 movies in the last 6-7 years. In the 1970s, I worked as film programmer for The Paris here in Boston and for Dollar Cinemas in Las Vegas, in the early 90s. I have written movie reviews and commentary for Z Magazine (produced by Jerry Harvey for his wonderful “Z” Channel), Cineaste, Film Comment, Cahiers du Cinema, Empire, and for—ta-dah!—The Brattle! I am currently working on a long retrospective of the work of one of my all-time favorites, Jeff Bridges!

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Friday, May 10, 2013

BetteBack April 6, 1980: The Rose Hits London With A Bang!

Kingston Gleaner
April 6, 1980


Every so often, along comes a flamboyant performance bY an actor new to the screen which sets everyone raving no matter the quality of the vehicle in which the incandescent apparition makes its bow. Latest to make this kind of debut is the irrepressible Bette Midler.

A name known to followers of jazz and pop music, Miss Midler has been hitting it big for some time in concerts in the U.S A. and some other offshore spots. Her act seems to combine some of the best features of that scene, particularly her own singing when she’s not screaming down the bass guitar in noisy rock, and some of the crass vulgarities of old time burlesque, so outrageous as to be funny anew.

In Britain, she completely captivated audiences for the most popular TV chat show — host: Michael Parkinson – with her brashness combined occasionally with a modicum of modesty. Her costume was unbelievable including feathers mounted on the rear which made her look for all the world like a feminine rooster and her line in jokes would send any self-respecting Sunday School teacher diving for cover under the nearest pew.

While overwhelming her host on that show, she nevertheless managed to communicate two things, a natural liveliness, a bouncing baby doll in great contrast to the pallor and the artificiality of the usual pop star, and a healthy recognition of her stage persona as being no more than a well-tailored commercial dressing to establish her in the world of entertainment.

Parkinson asked her to tell a particular joke Oh dear, do I really have to do that, asked she, it’s pretty crude. Oh well, here goes. And the glitter turned on and she went ahead And it was pretty crude. It was also very funny. She then proceeded to try to crawl all over her host which was quite amusing what with her rooster rig and her being so short her feet couldn’t touch the floor when she sat in the guest chair and he being a good six foot plus.

Bette Midler is no beauty. She looks like a plain Barbra Streisand – and you know what Streisand looks like. Midler’s face is perhaps narrower, longer and more horse-like than the other lady and she frames it in hair turned into those permed, or whatever they do to them, strands that wind up looking like a clump of seaweed bleached blonde and light brown; the sort of thing which seems obligatory right now for all singers, male or female, so long as they’ve still
got enough of a curly mop left to do it with.

And she struts in her perilously high heels bringing the similarity to a cock chicken closer This is the image, as carefully designed as let’s say Liza Minelh’s and bidding fair to be equally successful It could not be long therefore before someone would want to launch so exhilarating a new deal on the screen.

The Rose opened in London providing that launching for Miss Midler and. deservedly, every film reviewer fell to the floor in full salaam to welcome a new star into the firmament The vehicle itself was secondary but enough to allow
this bundle of energy to drive it at open throttle all the way. The foot on the pedal showed no sign anywhere of letting up, only the sound of further revving.

The screenplay is said not to be based on the life of Janis Joplin, that cult heroine who eventually burned out in the ashes of. too much dope, loo’much drink, too much hyper-ed living; but it is pretty close to what one might assume to be the sort of path she followed Perhaps one might look at it as a sort of synthesis of all the sing stars who’ve shot in tremendous popularity through their recordings and their appearances and who have become such hot properties that the commercial interests behind them have pushed them beyond the limits of their emotional endurance.

And that is indeed the sentimentality of The Rose underneath Midler’s tough brawling performance Ii presents little more than one more variation on the theme of solitary person rocketed unpreparedly to the heights because of a particular talent, without any personal reserves to fall back on, who is forced to function machinelike while the going is good and the shekels roll in until either the bearings seize or the product loses its sales value.

In terms of plot, “The Rose” does not attempt to put much forward. It introduces us to Rose when she is already at the height of her popularity and has been so for some time Her manager, Roger. (Alan Bates), keeps the bookings flowing from one fest to another and the promotion of the ‘wild’ image He has madeheand owns part of her. contractually and he intends to make every penny he can while shes still on tOP

It does not seem to matter greatly to him that her private life is empty of any sustaining factors, that she has become reliant on all the wrong stimulants and that she is near physical and mental collapse What he does know is that she can t let go of this success either, that she will never chicken out on a professional engagement whatever her state and that her greatest desire is to return to play her home town as a star (After all, she was the sort of girl who, at school, one night took on armorusly the entire school football team.

So this cellulose family circusses across America in the private plane with the Rose Emblem painted on its nose coming closer and closer to The film’s climax which is the show in the home town where we know exactly what will happen. And it does En route, Rose grabs at a happiness attempt with a powerful buck (well played in ultra casual style by Frederic Forrest) an army deserter working temporarily as a chauffeur He s there on and off for a while on the junket.

When he leaves, there’s another similar candidate wait. The progession is sustained by Midler’s Rose, behaviour unpredictable, brawling marvellously, giving back obscenities as good as she gets, screwing her nerves to the pitch, sinking further and further into total exhaustion from which she must rise to project the image of raucous sex to the thousands waiting to mob her in the stadiums and Bowls, reacting from moment to moment, losing herself in the business of recording dates, rehearsals, performances, promotions. The nearest she finally gets back to her family is a phone
call when she persuades her parents not to come to the final concert.

For Miss Midler, however, “The Rose” is a big personal triumph. You go out of the cinema ready to head for the next Bette Midler film. There’s the question. After a debut like this, what can Miss Midler possibly follow with. In this
commercial world, she will undoubtedly be made to follow with something and one can only wish her the sincerest good luck with the second outing.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

BetteBack January 16, 1980: “The Rose” isn’t a movie for people who don’t like bad language or good rock.

Cedar Rapids Gazette Weekly News Magazine
January 16, 1980


It may not be true that inside every superstar there’s a horribly insecure person who has to use sex, drugs and booze to cope with success, fame and riches.

It may not be true, but it’s still an idea that can make a pretty good soap opera in the right hands, and the hands responsible for “The Rose” are the right ones.

Bette Midler is especially impressive in her film debut, whether on stage, singing in a gutsy late ’60s hard-rock style or offstage, swilling tequila and bouncing roughly between the people she needs and loves.

Midler’s “Rose” character is obviously patterned after the late JanisPearlJoplin. Although the movie is very careful never to mention Joplin, Rose has adopted her style of dressing, singing and, according to reports, living.

Rose is rather plain by conventional standards, a hard-drinking, fast-living, foul-mouthed woman who’s full of contradictions.

She protests to her manager, Rudge (Alan Bates), that she’s overworked and wants a year off the tour, something he refuses to give her. But when Dyer (Frederic Forrest), the man she really cares for, shows her a way to get what she claims she wants, she can’t face the thought of giving up her stardom. She doesn’t appear to be concerned about the
money, but she desperately heeds the acclaim and the acceptance she gets from people as a performer.

She claims to be a sensitive person, but she’s got a wide streak of violence. She’s perfectly capable of smashing a bottle into a stranger’s face when he propositions her; and she does it like swatting a-fly, not because of what he suggested so much as because he irritated her.

She says she’s just looking for a man who will love and accept her, but when she finds one she turns him away — no small task.

It doesn’t add up to a very sympathetic character, and the Rose isn’t.

By the time the movie draws to its inevitable climax, the viewer, like members of Rose’s troupe, is likely to be a little weary of the constant harping, boozing and whining.

Bates and Forrest provide good support for Midler, and the concert scenes are extremely well done. There are a lot of songs, many of them original. “The Rose” isn’t a movie for people who don’t like bad language or good rock.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

BetteBack December 29, 1979: Midler Wins War With The Film

Annapolis Capital
December 29, 1979


The Rose” isn’t much of a recollection of the ’60s, as it purports to be, but it is a phenomenal film just the same.

The reason is that “The Rose” marks the screen debut of one of the most explosive singers of the decade, Bette Midler, in a role that allows her ample space for exploding. The spectacle of Midler careening through a movie which is awful on many counts isn’t exactly artful, but it is memorable, entertaining and even exciting.

The verdict on “The Rose” is this: the star is at war with the film; the star wins. From her delirious, boozy entrance to her grandiose on-stage death, Midler as a legendary ’60s rock star named The Rose is fascinating to behold. The character is modeled after Janis Joplin, who drank and drugged herself to death before screaming millions, and in the attempt to capture Joplin’s soaring, volatile spirit, Midler acts up a storm. She is vulnerable and sweet, coarse and hard, a tremendous vocalist and a sensational personality.

If only the sprawling screenplay had some shape to it, “The Rose” would be one of the greats. As it is, however, this is a film about a rock singer that offers no insight into stardom, a psychological drama with no sense of psychology, a sociological portrait that entirely lacks a social background.

Midler turns The Rose into a larger than-life figure, but her profound despair remains entirely unexamined. She battles ferociously with her ambitious manager (Alan Bates) because she wants to take time off and he won’t let her. Over-work is supposed to be what drives The Rose to the brink, yet it’s patently unbelievable that a figure of The Rose’s stature would be so easily bullied.

The Rose’s other struggles are likewise dramatically inauthentic. She undergoes a tumultuous love affair with a handsome AWOL soldier (Frederic Forrest), that is given to us as an illustration of her inability to find true love. We’re supposed to believe that The Rose is too much for any man to handle, but, as it’s presented, the argument between The Rose and her lover is a contrivance. They fight at top volume about nothing; their feelings for one another remain obscure.

Whatever emotion this relationship engenders is borne solely by the charisma of the actors. It is to Forrest’s great credit that he holds his own against Midler, so that the goings-on between them aren’t a total loss.

The story overall is such a mess that it’s best to forget it entirely to concentrate on Midler’s performance, the concert footage — beautifully executed by cinematographer Vilmos Sigmund — and on several bravura sequences that are sheer fun. One of these involves a visit The Rose and her AWOL boyfriend make to a transvestite bar where, along with impersonators of Barbara Streisand and Diana Ross, there’s one of The Rose herself.

Bette Midler and her double do a duet that would have made a great scene no matter what movie it had been part of.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

BetteBack November 16, 1979: Bette Midler would have to be the flip-side of Barbra Streisand

Paris News
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 a legend of sorts.

Although I have my doubts that The Rose’ will get many Oscar nominations because of Midler’s caustic language and her 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 very 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.

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

BetteBack November 14, 1979: THE ROSE introduces a hurricane named Bette Midler to the screen

Indiana Gazette
November 14, 1979
At The Movies
By The Associated Press


THE ROSE introduces a hurricane named Bette Midler to the screen. Not since Barbra Streisand and “Funny Girl” has there been such an overwhelming debut. Midler sublimates her considerable talent as a comedienne to play straight in a role obviously patterned after the self-destructive Janis Joplin. So much for the good news Alas, the depiction of a superstar’s downhill race must necessarily prove depressing.

This is compounded by the fact that the filmmakers have provided no plot, only a series of unfulfilled vignettes. Alan Bates plays the Rose’s manager with the single aim of exploitation. Frederic Forrest is fairly sympathetic as the singer’s parttime chauffeur and lover.

The concert scenes are the real thing and will please the rock crowd. Next. Bette, something a little lighter, please.

Rated R. with much use of hard drugs and language. By BOB THOMAS.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

BetteBack November 9, 1979: Midler’s acting blooms in ‘Rose’

Daily Herald
November 9, 1979


An out-of-state film critic pompously assured me last week that a lot of dialogue in “The Rose” was “pure Bette Midler. Just her talking.

Then came the cork for this fellow’s abundant self-confidence. It turned out “The Rose” had been written eight years ago for Valerie Perrine of “Lenny” fame.

But the point was very clear: Bette Midler’s performance in the Mark Rydell film is a special one. It’s done so well that it seems too real to be acting.

AS A REFORMED junkie rock ‘n’ roll superstar eventually driven to a lonely death, Midler delivers gusty, uninhibited fire on stage. Yet, the singer’s acting talent shows remarkable maturity for her film debut (aside from playing extras in “Hawaii” and “Goodbye, Columbus”). Her character, a sad and lonely girl forced to accept audience applause as the only love she trusts, is possessed of a special innocence and sensitivity which Midler gives with total commitment.

Her performance can be compared with those of Liza Minelli‘s Sally Bowles in “Cabaret” and Diana Ross’s Billie Holiday in “Lady Sings the Blues

The story of “The Rose” was originally about the life of rock singer Janis Joplin titled “Pearl,” the name of the
posthumous album Joplin was working on when she died of a heroin overdose in 1970. But the title and story were changed when Aaron Russo, Midler’s one-time romantic interest, took over production of the film. The title character, or Mary Rose Foster, was rewritten to be a composite of the great, tragic rock stars of the ’60s, although the Joplin
history still dominates the work.

THE PROBLEMS of the rock stars of the age, Joplin, Rolling Stoner Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix, were all too similar. As one writer put it, “All three lived it up as though tomorrow might never come, and eventually it did not, none of them lived beyond 30.”

The Rose is one of those virtuosos living just on the brink of life, trying to find a reason to hang on for another
day. Midler, herself exhibiting many traits common to the late artists, conveys the sense of loss and confusion reportedly common to the ill-fated performers who, like a rose, have their moment to bloom before fading away.

The period of “The Rose” is supposed to be 1969, but Rydell’s film has neither an authentic look nor feel of the times. The only evidence of the Vietnam war is a news broadcast in the background as Midler and co-star Frederic Forrest drive along in a limousine. Then, there are a few token peace signs flashed in crowd scenes curiously devoid of protest signs and anti-war slogans.

Forrest, the Texas actor who played Lee Harvey Oswald in a made-for-TV film “Ruby and Oswald,” is the wandering AWOL army sergeant named Dyer who brings- Rose her first taste of real love and sense of solidarity.

THE INTERACTIONS between Forrest’s and Midler’s characters are sometimes violent and always amusing. As some performers are apt to do.

Rose refers to herself as “The Rose,” enabling Dyer to deliver the gentle put-down that keeps her in place. “Ah think that ‘anyone who would talk about themselves in the third person is looney-tunes” he says.

There are happy moments in the story, marvelously funny scenes (Midler breezing through a men’s Turkish bath reciting a warped version of “Peter Piper”), but the unhappmess, the loneliness and isolation of the superstar always come back to destroy those fleeting moments.

Bearded Alan Bates appears as Rose’s one-dimensional British manager, an unfeeling monster determined to grind money out of his superstar even to the point of running her into the ground. The role is well-defined, but because of the overwhelming zeal with which Bates exploits the star, it’s not clear if her dramatic and drawn-out death on stage is prompted by her own seeds of destruction or by the uncaring, unrelenting cruelty of the manager.

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

BetteBack October 23, 1979: The Rose

Lethbridge Herald
October 23, 1979 Read More

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