For the Boys

For the Boys

5.0 3
Director: Mark Rydell

Cast: Bette Midler, James Caan, George Segal


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Bette Midler stars as a Martha Raye-type entertainer during the World War II era in this big-budget nostalgia piece. Midler plays big-band singer Dixie Leonard, who is chosen to perform at an overseas USO Christmas show by her uncle Art Silver (George Segal), a comedy writer for famed comedian Eddie Sparks (James Caan). Dixie is shuttled to London, where she is thrown… See more details below


Bette Midler stars as a Martha Raye-type entertainer during the World War II era in this big-budget nostalgia piece. Midler plays big-band singer Dixie Leonard, who is chosen to perform at an overseas USO Christmas show by her uncle Art Silver (George Segal), a comedy writer for famed comedian Eddie Sparks (James Caan). Dixie is shuttled to London, where she is thrown on-stage with Eddie, who takes an immediate dislike to her. But her performance is a sensation, and the audience can't stop howling at Dixie's smart one-liner comebacks to Eddie. Dixie is catapulted to stardom, and the repartee between Eddie and Dixie becomes the stuff of legend. The two spar together through World War II, the McCarthy era, and Vietnam. But Dixie stops speaking to Eddie when he fires a writer for being a communist sympathizer and, later, she doesn't speak to him again after he arranges for a reunion between her and her son on the battlefields of Vietnam. Finally, Dixie, now an old woman, is cajoled to appear on a television awards show to reunite with a now decrepit Eddie, age 91.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
This tuneful, decade-hopping extravaganza, glowing with patriotic sentiment, is remarkably similar to Hollywood musicals made during the wartime years in which it's mostly set. Bette Midler, playing a brassy USO singer entertaining the troops, seems eerily like a reincarnation of Ethel Merman. James Caan, not quite as felicitously cast, is convincing enough as her partner, a sexist, self-absorbed comic whose onstage banter barely masks his annoyance at having to share the spotlight. Indisputably successful as a team, Midler and Caan keep the act going for years, providing songs, dances, and laughs to American soldiers for the duration of three wars -- even when their offstage relationship suffers. Director Mark Rydell (On Golden Pond) obviously realizes how much For the Boys resembles the old 20th Century Fox musicals that teamed Alice Faye with John Payne or Betty Grable with Dan Dailey, and he isn't afraid to make it just as schmaltzy. Midler and Caan's offstage travails might strike older audiences as strangely familiar, but Midler's warbling of well-remembered standards will find favor among all viewers. Like its 1940s progenitors, For the Boys is slick, formulaic, and robustly entertaining.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bette Midler Dixie Leonard
James Caan Eddie Sparks
George Segal Art Silver
Patrick O'Neal Shephard
Chris Rydell Danny
Brandon Call Danny (at 12)
Arye Gross Jeff Brooks
Xander Berkeley Roberts
Andrew Bilgore Nervous Production Assistant
Jason Iorg Actor
Walter C. Miller TV Director
Lynn Stalmaster Actor
Patrick Whyte Audience Airman
Norman Fell Sam Schiff
Rosemary Murphy Luanna Trott
Bud Yorkin Phil
Dori Brenner Loretta
Jack Sheldon Wally Fields
Karen Martin Vicki
Shannon Wilcox Margaret Sparks
Melissa Manchester Corrine
Steven Kampmann Stan
Richard Portnow Milt
Pattie Darcy Myra
Beau Dremann Army Messenger
Jameson Rodgers Danny (at 4)
Gary Gershaw Stage Manager
Jim Raposa Dancing Airman
Christopher Kaufman Band Person
James Patrick Captain
Chris Wilkinson Niles LaGuardia
Hayley Carr Ann Sparks
Kimberly Ann Evans Kate Sparks
Kelly Noonan Merry Sparks
John O'Leary TV Censor
Stewart J. Zully T.V. Stage Manager
Heidi Sorenson Showgirl
Bruce Gray 1st Sponsor
Richardson Morse 2nd Sponsor
Matthew Faison 3rd Sponsor
Carey Eidel Green Room Page
Richard Hochberg Merrill
Andy Milder Dressing Room Page
Thom Adcox Wounded Marine
Andrew Lauer Corpsman on Battlefield
Billy Bob Thornton Marine Sergeant
John Doolittle Captain Donelson
Sal Landi Marine Driver
John Ruskin Marine Who Stops Trucks
Marc Poppel Corpsman at MASH
Gabe Bologna Marine at MASH
Tamaki Kawakubo Violinist
Mark Roberts Vice Admiral
Robert Clotworthy Navy Commander
Tony Pierce Major at Firebase
Maia Winters Janie
D. David Morin Cameraman
David Selberg Assistant Director
Alan Haufrect Technical Director
Annie Prager Associate Producer
Barry Michlin Executive Producer
Sherlynn Hicks Teleprompter Operator
Maggie Wagner Stan's Assistant
Leonard Gaines Lou Presti
David Bowe Photographer
Morgan Ames Awards Conductor
William Marquez Caretaker
Fred Parnes Jeep Driver
Esther Jacobs Ida Silver
Garrison Singer Commander at Citadel
Connie Chambers 1950s Show Dancer
Janice Cronkhite 1950s Show Dancer
Kirk Hansen 1950s Show Dancer
Melissa Hurley 1950s Show Dancer
Lynnmarie Inge 1950s Show Dancer
Theresa King 1950s Show Dancer
Steven Majewicz 1950s Show Dancer
Jody Peterson 1950s Show Dancer
Amy Rydell 1950s Show Dancer
Susanne Sullivan 1950s Show Dancer
Paul Thorpe 1950s Show Dancer
Kristy Zlock 1950s Show Dancer
Lada Boder Awards Dinner Dancer
Ken Molina Awards Dinner Dancer
Sheri Norwood Awards Dinner Dancer
Tita Omeze Awards Dinner Dancer
Raymond Rodriguez Awards Dinner Dancer
Rick Gavin Tjia Awards Dinner Dancer
Natsuo Tomita Awards Dinner Dancer
Jerald Vincent Awards Dinner Dancer
Beverly Ward Awards Dinner Dancer
Kirby Ward Awards Dinner Dancer
Michael Greene General Scott
Arliss Howard Husband to Dixie Leonard (uncredited)
Joe Mays Actor
Jeffrey Weissman Actor

Technical Credits
Mark Rydell Director,Producer
Ron Berkeley Makeup
Marshall Brickman Screenwriter
Bonnie Bruckheimer-Martell Producer
Alan B. Curtiss Asst. Director
Syd Dutton Special Effects
Wayne A. Finkelman Costumes/Costume Designer
Stephen Goldblatt Cinematographer
Assheton Gorton Production Designer
Jerry Greenberg Editor
Frank Griffin Makeup
Dave Grusin Score Composer
Ray Hartwick Co-producer
Jere Huggins Editor
Neal Jimenez Screenwriter
Lindy Laub Screenwriter
Richard J. Lawrence Set Decoration/Design
Joe Layton Choreography
Julia Levine Set Decoration/Design
Kathleen Long Producer
Marvin March Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Edward D. Markley Production Manager
Bette Midler Producer
Donald O. Mitchell Sound/Sound Designer
Mic Rodgers Stunts
Peter Romero Set Decoration/Design
Kay Rose Sound Editor
Margaret Jennings South Producer
Bill Taylor Special Effects
Dianne I. Wager Art Director
Jim Webb Sound/Sound Designer
Chris Wilkinson Associate Producer
Don Woodruff Art Director

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