DIVINE MADNESS (director: Michael Ritchie; screenwriters: Bruce Valanch/Bette Midler/Jerry Blatt; cinematographer: William Fraker; editor: Alan Balsam; music: ; cast: Bette Midler (The Divine Miss M), Irving Sudrow (Head Usher), Jocelyn Brown (Harlette), Diva Gray (Harlette), Ula Hedwig (Harlette); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Michael Ritchie; Warner Bros.; 1980)
“Enjoyable nonsense that makes for titillating entertainment.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Michael Ritchie(“Downhill Racer”/”Prime Cut”/”The Candidate”) directs this unique concert film of Bette Midler in a live performance, shot over four days, in 1980, at the Pasadena, Calif, Civic Auditorium. It’s exceptionally well-paced. There were some 30 cameras used, but none seen. Bette is billed as ‘The Divine Miss M’ and The Harlettes (Jocelyn Brown, Diva Gray, Ula Hedwig) are her back-up singers–they function as her Greek chorus. The high-energy Bette sings as many as 16 songs, such as “Leader of the Pack,” ”The Rose,” ”Big Noise From Winnetka,” ”Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Shiver Me Timbers,” “E Street Shuffle” and ”Chapel of Love.” She does several raunchy monologues and several blue comic routines–including one of Sophie Tucker. Bette also goofs on the Royals, the Germans and the French.
I found some of the comical material funny, others just crude. The songs were well-performed but the music was uneven.
It’s enjoyable nonsense that makes for titillating entertainment. Appealing to the guys is the zoftig Bette in a low-cut gown, with her boobs sticking out.
REVIEWED ON 1/4/2016 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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