Bette Midler poured her heart and soul into For the Boys
, the story of a pair of entertainers who repeatedly took time from their careers to entertain US troops at war, from World War II to Vietnam--and it sank like a stone at the box office. Granted, it's corny and emotionally over the top. It is the tale of an unlikely team of singer and comedian (played by Midler and James Caan), who are brought together for a reunion show in their dotage. As they nervously anticipate seeing each other for the first time in years, they are flooded with memories of their earlier days as a hot show-biz couple whose own troubles always took second place to their patriotic urge to buoy the boys in uniform. Some say this was a veiled film version of the Martha Raye story; Midler gives it her all and Caan isn't bad. But director Mark Rydell lays on the schmaltz so thickly at times that it overpowers the tougher material. --Marshall Fine, Amazon.com
Showbiz veterans from the World War 2 era, Eddie Sparks (James Caan) and Dixie Leonard (Bette Midler) are to be given an award at a televised ceremony. Before the show, Dixie begins to reminisce about her career and long partnership with Eddie which began in 1942 at a USO Christmas show in London. Eddie took an immediate dislike to her, but their on-stage repartie was a hit with the audience and thus began a long and successful career. This took them through the War, the McCarthy era and up to the Vietnam War, but all along their off-stage relationship never changed - Dixie even stopped talking to Eddie at one point. So this reunion for the award ceremony is not something either of them are looking forward to.