AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Rose
Alternate Title: The Tour
Director: Mark Rydell (Dir)
Release Date:   7 Nov 1979
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 7 Nov 1979; Los Angeles opening: 8 Nov 1979
Production Date:   began 24 Apr 1978 in New York City
Duration (in mins):   134
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Cast:   Bette Midler (Rose)  
    Alan Bates (Rudge [Campbell])  
    Frederic Forrest ([Houston] Dyer)  
  Co-starring Barry Primus (Dennis)  
    Sandra McCabe (Sarah [Willingham])  
  [and] David Keith (Mal)  
  And Harry Dean Stanton (Billy Ray)  
  Featuring Will Hare (Mr. Leonard)  
    Rudy Bond (Monty)  
    Don Calfa (Don Frank)  
    James Keane (Dealer)  
    Doris Roberts (Rose's mother)  
    Sandy Ward (Rose's father)  
    Michael Greer (Emcee)  
  Female impersonators: Claude Sacha    
    Michael St. Laurent    
  [and] Pearl Heart    
    Butch Ellis (Waiter)  
    Richard Dioguardi (Trucker)  
    John Dennis Johnston (Milledge)  
    Jonathan Banks (Television promoter)  
    Jack O`Leary (Short order cook)  
    Luke Andreas (Trucker)  
    Harry Northup (Skinny guy)  
    Cherie Latimer (Secretary)  
    Seamon Glass (Trucker)  
    Pat Corely (Police Chief)  
    Dennis Erdman (Billy Ray's kid)  
    Hugh Gillin (Guard)  
    Joyce Roth (Waitress in airport)  
    Frank Speiser (Reporter at Rose's house)  
  [and] Constance Cawlfield (Reporter)  
  And Annie McGuire (Don Frank's wife)  
    Hildy Brooks (Waitress in in diner)  
    Jack Starrett (Dee)  
  Reporters: Dimos Condos    
    Lorrie Davis    
    David Garfield    
    Kathryn Grody    
    Jack Hollander    
    Sandra Seacat    
    Chip Zien    
  [and] Ted Harris    
    Victor Argo (Lockerman)  
    Kelly Boyd (Blonde girl in Leonard's)  
    Cyndi Gottfried (Redhaired girl in Leonard's)  
    L. D. Frazier (Doorman at nightclub)  
    Lawrence Guardino (Cop at police station)  
    Tom Kubiak (Cab driver)  
    Phil Rubenstein (Pot belly )  
  [and] Charlie McCarthy (Cop in Luxor baths)  
  The Rose Band: Danny Weis    
    Steve Hunter    
    Robbie Louis Buchanan    
    Jerome Noel Jumonville    
    Norton Buffalo   Courtesy of Capitol Records
    Mark Leonard    
    Pentti "Whitey" Glan    
  [and] Mark Underwood    
  Billy Ray Band: Rodney Dillard    
    Douglas Dillard    
  [and] Byron Berline    
  Club 77 Band: Mark Jordan    
    Fred Beckmeier    
    David Kalish    
    Gary Ferguson    
  [and] Steve Berlin    
  Monty's Band: Greg Prestopino    
    Bill Elliot    
    Jon Sholle    
    Scott Chambers    
  [and] Harry Stinson    

Summary: The parents of Rose, a popular blues singer, walk into their garage with a press photographer, who takes pictures of walls that are covered with images of Rose’s life. Years earlier, an intoxicated Rose descends the stairs of her touring airplane as her promoter, Rudge Campbell, steadies her. They drive to a stadium filled with adoring fans. After the show, Rose complains to Rudge that she’s tired and wants to take a year off, but Rudge is worried about canceling $3 million worth of concerts and tells her to be tough. Backstage before her next concert, Rose removes songs from the playlist because she lacks the energy to perform a full set. Onstage, Rose drinks from several liquor bottles and her managers become angry that her alcoholism is out of control. After the show, Rose complains again to Rudge about her health and he produces a syringe filled with Vitamin B-12, which she injects. Later, Rudge introduces Rose to country singer Billy Ray, a musician she’s admired for many years, and Rose is humiliated when Billy Ray criticizes her talent. Livid that Rudge doesn’t defend her, Rose realizes that her promoter wants to work for Billy Ray. Storming out, Rose has a limousine chauffeur, Houston Dyer, drive her to a familiar club of female impersonators. There, Rose performs a duet with a drag queen of her own likeness as impersonators of Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton join her on stage. Back at a hotel, Houston and Rose make love. Later, when Rudge berates Rose for missing a recording session, Rose blames at Houston and jumps into the limousine as Houston drives away. Houston stops the vehicle in the middle of the street and disappears into a men’s bathhouse. There, Rose finds Houston in the steam room, and he reveals his own problems; Houston left his post as an army sergeant three weeks ago and is considered AWOL. Rose invites Houston to join her entourage. On her airplane, Rose cries that all the clouds look the same and she doesn’t know where she is. After a show in St. Louis, Missouri, Rudge introduces her to several important contacts, but Houston cuts Rose’s conversation short and Rudge warns him to stay away from Rose’s business. On the next leg of the tour, Rose and her entourage sit in an airport waiting room because of inclement weather and Rose strikes up a conversation with a few soldiers. One soldier, Mal, agrees to be her bodyguard and masseur for the rest of the tour. At a concert, Houston rescues Rose from a rush of fans storming the stage and carries her to her dressing room where she smothers him with kisses. At another show, Sarah Willingham, one of Rose’s former lovers, comes backstage and Houston walks in on their embrace carrying a bottle of champagne. When Rose tries to explain, Houston hits her and she hurls the bottle of champagne at the wall, then knees him in the stomach. Later, Houston disappears and Rose and Mal drive to her next show, which is located in her hometown. Walking into Leonard’s, the neighborhood grocery store, Rose orders a moon pie and a Dr. Pepper, triggering Leonard’s memory of her as a young girl. Leonard doesn’t realize that Rose is a famous singer and Rose becomes upset, believing that people in her hometown are not aware of her success. As roadies assemble the stage for Rose’s concert on the high school football field, Rudge worries that Rose won’t show up in time and quits upon her arrival. Rudge announces that he is cancelling the concert and leaves as Houston appears. Elated, Rose falls into Houston’s arms and agrees to go with him to Mexico. Meanwhile, Rudge hears Rose’s fans waiting for the concert to begin and believes he has called her bluff. On the road, Rose and Houston stop at Monte’s, the first venue Rose ever performed. Fortified with alcohol and drugs, Rose performs one of her songs, accompanied by the house band. However, Houston fights a redneck and drags Rose from the club before she has a chance to finish. In the car, the couple is interrupted by a phone call from Rudge, who begs Rose to perform. Houston realizes that they are not going to Mexico after all and leaves Rose at Monte’s, where Sam, a drug dealer, slips her some drugs. Later, Rose calls Rudge from a phone booth, asking him to collect her as she swallows several tablets with alcohol. When a helicopter delivers Rose to her hometown audience, Rudge helps her stagger onto the stage. The adoring fans revive Rose and she summons the will to sing, but she collapses after the first song. Back at Rose’s parents’ garage, the photographer finishes taking pictures and Mal turns off the light. 

Production Company: Marvin Worth/Aaron Russo Productions  
  Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Production Text: a Marvin Worth/Aaron Russo production
a Mark Rydell film
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Mark Rydell (Dir)
  Ira Loonstein (Unit prod mgr)
  Larry Franco (Asst dir)
  Chris Soldo (2d asst dir)
  Barry Primus (2d unit dir)
Producer: Marvin Worth (Prod)
  Aaron Russo (Prod)
  Tony Ray (Exec prod)
Writer: Bill Kerby (Scr)
  Bo Goldman (Scr)
  Bill Kerby (Story)
Photography: Vilmos Zsigmond (Dir of photog)
  Bob Byrne (Addl concert photog)
  Conrad Hall (Addl concert photog)
  Jan Kiesser (Addl concert photog)
  Laszlo Kovacs (Addl concert photog)
  Steve Lydecker (Addl concert photog)
  Michael Margolies (Addl concert photog)
  David Meyers (Addl concert photog)
  Owen Roizman (Addl concert photog)
  Haskell Wexler (Addl concert photog)
  Nick McClean (Cam op)
  Michael Gershman (1st asst cam)
  Peter Sorel (Still man)
  Rick Martens (Gaffer)
  Robert Moore (Key grip)
  E. H. B. "Chip" Monck (Concert lighting)
  Panavision® (Photog equip )
  Keith Kelsay (2d cam asst)
  Fred Muncey (Best boy)
  Anthony Pono (Best boy)
  Tim Ryan (Grip)
Art Direction: Richard MacDonald (Prod des)
  Jim Schoppe (Art dir)
Film Editor: Robert L. Wolfe (Film ed)
  C. Timothy O`Meara (Co-ed)
  Hannah Wajshonig (Asst film ed)
Set Decoration: Bruce Weintraub (Set dec)
  Hendrik Wynands (Const coord)
  Jerry Graham (Prop master)
  Daniel May (Leadman)
  William W. King (Asst prop master)
  Gene Acker (Painter)
Costumes: Theoni V. Aldredge (Cost des)
  April Ferry (Supv cost)
  Bruce Ericksen (Men`s cost)
  Dean Skipworth (Men`s cost)
Music: Paul A. Rothchild (Mus arr and supv)
  Ken Wannberg (Mus ed)
  Bill Gazecki (Asst mus supv)
  William R. Darlington (Band coord)
Sound: Kay Rose (Supv sd ed)
  Victoria Rose Sampson (Sd ed)
  Chet Slomka (Sd ed)
  Godfrey Marks (Sd ed)
  Robert Noel Mintz (Asst sd ed)
  Stephen Katz (Dolby consultant)
  Jim Webb (Prod sd)
  Chris McLaughlin (Prod sd)
  Theodore Soderberg (Re-rec sd)
  Douglas O. Williams (Re-rec sd)
  Paul Wells (Re-rec sd)
  Bill Darlington (Live ed eng)
  The Enactron Truck (Concert rec by)
Special Effects: Pacific Title (Titles and opticals)
  Anthony Goldschmidt (Title des)
Dance: Toni Basil (Choreog)
Make Up: Jeff Angell (Makeup)
  Hazel Catmull (Hairdresser)
Production Misc: Lynn Stalmaster & Associates (Casting)
  Julia Tucker (Scr supv)
  Don Kruger (Loc mgr)
  Ralph M. Leo (Loc auditor)
  Bosha Johnson (Asst to Ms. Aldredge)
  Betty Atkinson (Prod coord)
  Rick Mercier (Transportation coord)
  Rita Joelson Chidester (Asst to Mr. Rydell)
  Jody Taylor Worth (Asst convert supv)
  Bonnie Bruckheimer (Asst to prod)
  Ron DeBlasio (Concert supv)
  Production Systems Inc. (Loc equip supplied by)
  KMET (Concert promotion by)
  Maureen Dooling (Worth secy)
  Brenda Franklin (Russo exec asst)
  Barbara Allyne Bennet (Ray secy)
  Bruce Solow (DGA trainee)
  James Herbert (Prod mgr)
  Bruce Bahrenburg (Unit pub)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "The Rose," music and lyrics by Amanda McBroom, copyright ©1979 Fox Fanfare Music Inc.; "Stay With Me," music and lyrics by Jerry Ragavoy and George Weiss; "Camelia," music by Stephen Hunter, copyright ©1979 Twentieth Century Music Corp.; "The Night We Said Goodbye," music by Bill Elliott, copyright ©1979 Fox Fanfare Music Inc.; "Evil Lies," music by Greg Prestopino, lyrics by Greg Prestopino and Carol Locatell, copyright ©Prestopino Music; "Sold My Soul to Rock 'N' Roll," music and lyrics by Gene Pistilli, copyright ©1979 Twentieth Century Music Corp.; "Keep on Rockin," music and lyrics by Sammy Hagar and John Carter; "Fire Down Below," music and lyrics by Bob Seger; "I've Written A Letter to Daddy," music and lyrics by Larry Vincent, Henry Tobias and Mo Jaffe; "When A Man Loves A Woman," music and lyrics by C. Lewis and A. Wright; "Midnight in Memphis," music and lyrics by Tony Johnson; "Whose Side Are You On?" music and lyrics by Kenny Hopkins and Charley Williams; "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," music by Leo Friedman, lyrics by Beth Slater Whitson.
Composer: Bill Elliott
  John Carter
  Leo Friedman
  Sammy Hagar
  Kenny Hopkins
  Stephen Hunter
  Mo Jaffe
  Tony Johnson
  C. Lewis
  Carol Locatell
  Amanda McBroom
  Gene Pistilli
  Greg Prestopino
  Jerry Ragavoy
  Bob Seger
  Henry Tobias
  Larry Vincent
  George Weiss
  Beth Slater Whitson
  Charley Williams
  A. Wright
Source Text:

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation 6/11/1979 dd/mm/yyyy PA49896

Physical Properties: Lenses/Prints: Photographic equipment by Panavision®
  Sd: Recorded in Dolby Stereo™
  col: Color by DeLuxe®

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Alcoholism
  Drug overdose
  Rock concerts
Subjects (Minor): Airplanes
  Business managers
  Country music
  Drug dealers
  High schools
  Steam rooms
  Telephone booths

Note: A 13 Nov 1976 LAT article announced that singer Bette Midler would act in her first feature film titled The Tour, a musical comedy written by George Furth and comedienne Joan Rivers for Columbia Pictures. The singer reportedly signed a "multimillion dollar" deal with Columbia to develop four pictures over seven years and a 17 Nov 1977 HR announced Midler's $600,000 contract to appear in The Rose, a film about a 1960s rock singer inspired by the late Janis Joplin. Larry Peerce was named director on the film, which was budgeted at $8 million. A 12 May 1978 LAT article reported that when Peerce left the project, Ken Russell was considered as a replacement before Mark Rydell was signed to direct.        Although screenwriter Bill Kerby is given “Story by” credit onscreen, studio production notes from AMPAS library files noted that the film’s story was conceived by producer Marvin Worth and Michael Cimino. HR film assignments on 18 May 1978 stated that the screenplay was written by Bo Goldman “in association” with Cimino, “based on an earlier draft” by Bill Kerby. However, neither Worth nor Cimino are credited onscreen as writers and Kerby and Goldman are both listed as screenwriters.
       According to the production notes, the film had a shooting schedule that ran between ten and fourteen weeks. Principal photography began 24 Apr 1978 in New York City. Locations in and around New York City included a lower East Side police station, a luxury penthouse in a midtown Manhattan hotel, an office building near Grand Central Station and various city streets, as well the Brooklyn Bridge and the promenade in Brooklyn Heights. When two weeks of shooting in NY were completed, the production moved to the sound stages at Twentieth Century-Fox Studios in Los Angeles, CA, while some scenes located in rural Florida and downtown Memphis, TN, were replicated in the cities of Saugus, Wilmington and Long Beach, CA.
       Three nearby Southern California locations, including the Embassy Auditorium in Los Angeles, were chosen to film various rock concerts. At the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, Midler performed two concerts back-to-back for paying fans; a 12 Jun 1978 LAT news item announced that $2 and $4 tickets were available at the Roxy Theatre box office on the Sunset Strip for the two Wiltern concerts held at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on 23 Jun 1978. Proceeds from the ticket sales were donated to SHARE Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting developmentally disabled, abused and neglected children. A 16 Oct 1978 HR article reported that Rydell recruited seven “top-ranking” cameramen to film the Wiltern concerts and all took a cut in salary fro the twelve-hour shoot. The list of cinematographers included Haskell Wexler, Conrad Hall, Owen Roizman, Lazslo Kovacs, Bobby Byrne, David Meyer and Mike Margulies.
       On 10 Jul 1978, a LAT news item stated that due to confusion regarding access, the venue of Midler’s last filmed concert was switched from East Los Angeles College Stadium to the Long Beach Veterans Memorial Stadium. Producer Aaron Russo said the change in venue would cost upwards of “$250,000 in additional expenses” for the film. A Twentieth Century-Fox press release invited fans to be paid extras for the filming of the Long Beach concert on 14 Jul 1978 at 7 p.m. Participants were asked to wear blue jean pants and jackets, army surplus jackets, work shirts, pea coats, Pendleton jackets and T-shirts reminiscent of the 1960s.
       The Oct 1978 HR article stated that Midler’s concerts were backed by an eight-member band of experienced touring and session rock musicians.
       The film opened to mixed reviews. While the 9 Nov 1979 WSJ praised Midler for avoiding a sentimental portrayal of “Rose,” it noted that the film offered little commentary about the turbulent 1960s. Other reviews, including the 7 Nov 1979 NYT found Midler’s character generally unsympathetic.
       The film was nominated for four Academy Awards in the following categories: Actress in a Leading Role (Bette Midler), Frederic Forrest (Actor in a Supporting Role), Film Editing (Robert L. Wolfe and C. Timothy O’Meara) and Sound (Theodore Soderberg, Douglas Williams, Paul Wells and Jim Webb). Midler won a Golden Globe Award in the category Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, as well as for Best New Star of the Year – Actress. Frederic Forrest won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture and the title song, “The Rose,” won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture.

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   17 Nov 1977.   
Hollywood Reporter   17 Nov 1977.   
Hollywood Reporter   18 May 1978.   
Hollywood Reporter   16 Oct 1978   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Oct 1979   p. 3.
Los Angeles Times   13 Nov 1976   Section II, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times   12 May 1978.   
Los Angeles Times   12 Jun 1978.   
Los Angeles Times   10 Jul 1978.   
Los Angeles Times   4 Nov 1979   p. 1, 31.
New York Times   7 Nov 1979   p. 23.
Time   12 Nov 1979.   
Variety   10 Oct 1979   p. 20.
WSJ   9 Nov 1979.   

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