Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 1982. Herb Jaffe. Story by Frank D. Gilroy, Screenplay by Frank D. Gilroy, David Newman. Cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond. Produced by Herb Jaffe. Music by Miles Goodman, Bruce Roberts. Production Design by Ted Haworth. Costume Design by Robert De Mora. Film Editing by Douglas Stewart.
A blackjack dealer (Ken Wahl) is in a major professional crisis when a lowlife gambler (Rip Torn) feeds off his luck and gets him fired from every casino on the west coast. The gambler’s abused wife (Bette Midler) begins an affair with the dealer and together they conspire to kill the old coot, he to be free of his jinx and she to be free of the beatings he gives her. This Don Siegel comedy is never particularly funny despite having the magnificent presence of the Divine Miss M, who gives it her all but just can’t make it float. The screenplay is all over the place, seeming to make itself up as it goes along, and the two leads have zippo chemistry between them. It was famously unsuccessful when it was released, nearly ending Midler’s film career right then and there (quite possibly Bette’s meltdown scene on the set of a film in Beaches was a reference to this production), and while punishing her is wholly unfair (she really does seem to be acting in a much better movie), it’s no wonder that audiences stayed clear of it. Sadly, Siegel’s last film as director.