Divine Madness

Movies, Documentary
Wearing what looks like an old dressing-gown, hair shoved up any old how, pouring sweat and mascara, Bette Midler closes her stage show a heaving wreck, and the audience love it. As 'The Divine Miss M', 'Sophie Tucker' and 'Dolores DeLago, the Toast of Chicago', she has cracked the dirtiest jokes, sung the raunchiest songs, derided the audience ('You'll laugh at any old thing'), belittled the Royals, the French, the Germans, herself, strutted, gone through her bump and grind routine, and yet at the end of it all manages to convince you with that tremulous smile that she is as insecure as any little girl from the Bronx just starting out in showbiz. It is the precise dash of self-mockery that she adds to even her crudest stories and gestures that takes the sting from the tail, that makes the wonderfully slaggy Greek chorus ('The Harlettes') her partners and not just a titillating sideshow, and that raises the 'smutty joke' from the gutter to the flyover. Unsullied, despite her efforts, Bette triumphs.

By: FF

Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Michael Ritchie
Screenwriter: Jerry Blatt, Bette Midler, Bruce Vilanch
Cast: Bette Midler
Ula Hedwig
Diva Gray
Jocelyn Brown