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jinxed

Jinxed!

Jinxed! is a 1982 comedy and drama film starring Bette Midler, Rip Torn and Ken Wahl. Directed by Don Siegel, the veteran filmmaker would suffer a heart attack during the troubled production. This would be his final film.

The movie is noted for a unique collaboration between Siegel and director Sam Peckinpah. An original mentor to Peckinpah, who at this time was banished from the industry due to his troubled film productions, Siegel gave the director a chance to return to filmmaking. He asked Peckinpah if he would be interested in directing 12 days of second unit work on the film. Peckinpah immediately accepted, and his earnest collaboration with his longtime friend was noted within the industry. While Peckinpah's work was uncredited, it would lead to his hiring as the director of his final film The Osterman Weekend (1983).

In Jinxed!, Harold Benson (Rip Torn) and his lounge-singer wife Bonita Friml (Bette Midler) follow a young blackjack dealer Willie Brodax (Ken Wahl) around the U.S. Harold has a jinx on Willie and can't lose to him. Bonita and Willie eventually fall in love and plot to do away with Harold and collect his life insurance.

In addition to Siegel's health problems, Midler and Wahl reportedly fought viciously throughout the filming, making no secret of their open hostility towards one another. Years later, Midler would state that Siegel was also hostile towards her. In turn, Siegel said the experience of working with Midler was extremely unpleasant. The movie was filmed on location in Reno, Nevada and Lake Tahoe.

Jinxed!, released to theaters on Oct. 22, 1982, was a box office failure. Midler was largely blamed, effectively curtailing her career until Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986) was released to critical and commercial success.

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