Daily Archives: January 1, 1989


The lifelong friendship between two dissimilar womena brassy singer from the Bronx (Bette Midler) and an upper-class lawyer from San Francisco (Barbara Hershey)is the focus of this glossy, emotional picture, adapted by Mary Agnes Donoghue from Iris Rainer Dart’s novel and directed by Garry Marshall. The film’s oily overdefinition of various class and cultural categories (ranging from poor and well-to-do to avant-garde and vulgar) is strident enough to betray a condescending attitude toward the audience. Midler and Hershey (as well as costars John Heard, Spalding Gray, and Lainie Kazan) work nobly to flesh out the simpleminded conceits, which are omnipresentnot only in the script and direction but in most of Midler’s songs (1989). (JR) Read more

Baby Face

This 1933 Barbara Stanwyck vehicle about a small-town woman who sleeps her way up the corporate ladder, directed by the underrated Alfred E. Green, remains one of the raciest movies of the 30s, even after massive cuts by the censor; it’s also one of the most cynical about being female and getting ahead during the Depression. With George Brent and John Wayne in an early, highly uncharacteristic part. Well worth looking at. 70 min. (JR) Read more


Burt Lancaster plays a pacifist Indian who winds up fighting a one-man war for the rights of his tribe in this early (1954) Robert Aldrich western, based on a true story. Not an unqualified success by any means, but an interesting effort; with Jean Peters, John McIntire, and Charles Bronson. (JR) Read more


Czech animator Jan Svankmajer’s feature-length 1987 adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, made in Switzerland. Not necessarily for young kids, this is a surrealist version with a great deal of attention accorded to objects. 91 min. (JR) Read more

The Accidental Tourist

Lawrence Kasdan’s comedy-drama, based on Anne Tyler’s novel, reunites the two stars of Body Heat, Kasdan’s first feature, William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. The plot concerns a writer of guidebooks for reluctant travelers (Hurt) whose wife (Turner) leaves him; Geena Davis plays the unusual dog trainer he meets. Unlike Body Heat, the interest here is wholly a matter of story and character rather than style, and Hurt’s character is so inert and unemotional that some spectators may find it difficult to stay interested in him. A dog, a ten-year-old boy, and several eccentrics do give things a bit more flavor. The locations include Paris, London, and Baltimore; Amy Wright, David Ogden Stiers, Ed Begley Jr., and Bill Pullman are among the stars (1989). (JR) Read more