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teaser Beaches (1988)

The box office hit Beaches (1988) starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey was based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Iris Rainer Dart about the lasting friendship between two very different women. The free spirited but poor CC Bloom (Midler) and the uptight aristocratic Hillary Whitney (Hershey) meet as children in Atlantic City and form a lifelong bond that endures conflicts, boyfriends, marriages, babies, divorces and even death.

When Beaches went into production, Bette Midler was enjoying a wave of success ushered in by her association with Disney's adult-oriented Touchstone Pictures. Midler had made hits like Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) and Ruthless People (1986) for Touchstone which many credited for revitalizing her career as a comic actress in the 1980s. With Touchstone, Midler formed her company All Girl Productions and co-produced Beaches as her first project.

Originally, Mark Rydell was hired to direct Beaches. He had masterfully directed Midler before in 1979's The Rose, which had garnered her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. However, Rydell's vision clashed with the studio's, and Disney replaced him with director Garry Marshall. "The director and the studio have to agree on the premise of a film right from the beginning," wrote Marshall in his 1997 book Wake Me When It's Funny. "If they don't, the project could become a disaster." Marshall shared the studio's ideas for Beaches, and he welcomed the challenge of directing a story about two women.

Marshall credited Bette Midler along with her arranger Marc Shaiman and music producer Arif Mardin for the exceptional music in the film, which went on to become a hit soundtrack. Midler, Shaiman and Mardin were constantly working on the film score for Beaches. When they presented the song "The Wind Beneath My Wings" (sung by Midler), he was particularly moved and knew he had to use it somewhere in the film. Rather than having it presented as one of CC Bloom's numbers, however, they decided together that the song would be much more effective if simply played over the soundtrack during an especially moving scene. It conveyed the strong emotion of the film and struck a chord with audiences, becoming a huge number one hit for Midler and winning Grammys that year for both Song and Record of the Year.

Mayim Bialik, who would go on to star in the 1990s hit television show Blossom, received much attention for her dead-on imitation of Bette Midler as CC Bloom at age 11. Beaches also features outstanding supporting roles by John Heard, Spalding Gray and Lainie Kazan.

Producer: Bonnie Bruckheimer
Director: Garry Marshall
Screenplay: Mary Agnes Donoghue, based on the novel by Iris Rainer Dart
Production Design: William Barclay, Albert Brenner
Cinematography: Dante Spinotti
Costume Design: Robert De Mora
Film Editing: Richard Halsey
Original Music: Georges Delerue
Principal Cast: Bette Midler (CC Bloom), Barbara Hershey (Hillary), John Heard (John), Spalding Gray (Dr. Milstein), Lainie Kazan (Leona), James Read (Michael Essex), Mayim Bialik (Cecilia 'CC' Bloom, age 11), Marcie Leeds (Hillary, age 11).
C-124m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Andrea Passafiume

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