Bette Midler IS “The Rose!” An Incredible Movie Debut From A Pop Icon – A “Pop Stars Moonlighting” Blogathon!

“Where you going…? Where’s everybody going…?”

Bette Midler makes an electrifying motion picture debut as “The Rose” –
this 1979 musical drama tells the story of a self-destructive ’60s rock star who struggles to cope with the constant pressures of her career.

The Pop Stars Moonlighting Blogathon!

I am excited to be taking part in this fun blogathon, put on by the terrific movie website Real Weegie Midget Reviews…for three days, a bunch of bloggers will be sharing their reviews of movies tarring moonlighting pop stars…you can find it here:

I had to focus on “The Rose” – because it’s a powerfully intense musical drama about a tortured musical artist who is falling apart as her career is soaring!

This thinly-veiled story of Janis Joplin made Midler a star, because she is riveting onscreen.

Here is the trailer:

Alan Bates co-starred as The Rose’s ruthless Business Manager, unwilling to let Rose have much-needed time off, instead pushing her harder and harder on tour, as she is falling apart…but when she is on stage, she is mesmerizing, with songs like “Whose Side Are You On”, “Stay With Me” and this phenomenal cover of “When A Man Loves A Woman”:

Midler was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in her movie debut, and Frederic Forest was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as well. Forest would go on to appear in “Apocalypse Now” that same year. In “The Rose”, plays a limo driver who becomes Rose’s crutch – and her only connection to the real world.

While the film is packed with electrifying musical performances by Bette, it pulls no punches in showing a young woman self-destructing due to the pressures of her career.

The Janis Joplin Connection!

The film has eerie parallels to the life of Janis Joplin, the legendary Singer who died of a drug overdose.

In fact, the story was loosely based on Joplin’s life. The film was originally titled “Pearl”, which was Joplin’s nickname and also the title of her final album before her tragic death.

Ultimately, Joplin’s family rejected the use of her story, so instead, we got the “fictionalized” version of her story.

Real or fictional, Rose is without a doubt a dynamic personality – as she says onstage:

“What are we ladies? What are we? We are waitresses at the banquet of life! Get into that kitchen and rattle them pots and pans – and you better look pretty good doin’ it too, ‘else you gonna lose you good thing. And why do we do that, I’ll tell you why we do that? We do that to find love – Oh I love to be in love – don’t you love to be in love?”

Here is the music video for the title track, now one of Midler’s most iconic songs:

According to the book “The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History”, Bette Midler “nixed” parts in Rocky (1976), Nashville (1975), and Foul Play (1978) in order to play the lead character in this movie, which would make her “an instant screen icon”.

And it sure did!

The film was originally offered to Ken Russell, who chose instead to direct the film “Valentino.” Russell described that decision as the biggest mistake of his career.

Russell brought a wildly creative vision to all of his films, like this 70’s musical:

Yes, Russell directed “Tommy”! Remember the scene in that film where Elton John performs “Pinball Wizard” like this?

The film was an incredible, visual musical – see how the film included Hollywood Actress Ann Margaret rolling around in baked beans!

What a wild film! See her amazing “baked bean” scene here:

As noted, “The Rose” is a thinly-veiled biopic of Janis Joplin…if you want to see the real story, here is the documentary for you:

This mesmerizing documentary includes explosive live performances by Janis – see the trailer here:

If you enjoy these posts, why not subscribe and never miss out? It’s easy, and there are NO ads of any kind, just stuff I like…click on the main page and “follow” me on the upper right…

Thanks so much for reading – and make sure to go check out ALL of the films covered in this blogathon!

Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Academy Awards, Art, Classic Rock, Cult Movies, Great Films, Hollywood, Movies, Music, Obscure Movies, Obscure Music, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

27 replies

  1. This does look like a perfect film for Midler and I love that haunting theme. Thanks for joining with this great movie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the song, I need to see the film.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi John,
    I’m not actually sure that I’ve seen the movie, but I’ve always loved the song and had a friend sing it at our wedding. Must try and play it on my violin again. I played the easier part when I’d only been learning for a year in an ensemble and our teacher played the more difficult part. Reckon I could manage the lot now.
    I come from a family of people in the performing arts. My grandmother was an international concert pianist and my daughter is an aspiring ballerina and we know quite a few people embarking out on this road. Of course, it worries me. I watched “Black Swan” and it felt very real. We are lucky that we’re at a good studio and the principals are pretty level headed, but when you have to give your all and then some just to get your foot in the door, it is rather scary. Why couldn’t she just become an accountant?
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ll have to look for The Rose.. I did watch Little Girl Blue while it was on Netflix.. Very, very good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. An incredible performance by Midler in her first film…she would have won the Oscar if it weren’t for Sally Field as Norma Rae, tough competition. Too bad Midler didn’t do more dramatic roles…but of course she is a great comedienne as well. You have captured this film’s power and magic in your wonderfully illustrated and thoughtful post.


  6. I loved The Rose – such a good movie and Bette Midler was perfect in it.


  7. I can’t find the words to describe Bette in this role. It is sheer emotion.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the film and Love Bette’s performance! I didn’t know Ken Russell turned down the project! WOW! Russell was kind of crazy so I would have loved to see his version. Anyhow, great selection. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have not see The Rose, John. I also like Beaches [same as Mary] and I love Wind beneath my Wings which is my favourite of her songs.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. The best movie ever and my all-time favourite songs. Bette Middler is amazing in everything she does.


  11. Bette Midler is fabulous in everything. Loved this but my favourite is Beaches – perfect for when I’m need of a good cry.



  1. BLOGATHON… Day 2 has more Pop Stars hitting those acting notes – Realweegiemidget Reviews Films TV Books and more

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