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