THE LADIES WHO LUNGE

WERE THERE MORE ROLES FOR BETTE DAVIS THAN FOR BETTE MIDLER? YES, BUT FIRST WIVES SHOWS STRONG WOMEN ARE BACK IN VOGUE

Bette Midler, the designated frump in The First Wives Club, stares at Goldie Hawn's body with mixed feelings: envy for its sleekness and disdain for the work needed to maintain it. All those hours logged on the Stairmaster: "You climb and you climb, and you don't get anywhere." Why, Midler might be referring to women movie stars and women's pictures. In Hollywood it's one step up, two steps back, and sometimes you fall off.

To stand in line outside a Santa Monica multiplex on a Monday afternoon waiting to see The First Wives Club is to see women climbing the movie...

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