Des­per­ately seek­ing screen star­dom ...not al­ways suc­cess­fully

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - MORE COVER STORY - Matthew Bond

While Madonna has never en­joyed the same sort of suc­cess in the cinema as she has in the record­ing stu­dio (the com­i­cally aw­ful

Swept Away in 2002, di­rected by then hus­band Guy Ritchie, won her an un­prece­dented fifth Golden Rasp­berry award for Worst Ac­tress), she does have a small body of film work of which she can be qui­etly proud. The crown­ing glory has to be her star­ring role in An­drew Lloyd Web­ber and Tim Rice’s mu­si­cal,

Evita (1996), di­rected by Alan Parker, for which she won a Golden Globe. There’s more qual­ity else­where. I love the post­punk, spirit-of-New-York thing she brings to Des­per­ately Seek­ing Su­san (1985), and her will­ing­ness to muck in with a classy en­sem­ble cast (Tom Hanks, Geena Davis) in the un­der­rated base­ball movie A League Of Their Own (1992). Then there was the time she saw off com­pe­ti­tion from Sharon Stone, Kim Basinger and Michelle

Pfeif­fer to play Breath­less Mahoney in Dick Tracy (1990), with Warren Beatty play­ing the po­lice de­tec­tive, and di­rect­ing too. It was nom­i­nated for seven Os­cars, won three and co-starred Al Pa­cino and Dustin Hoff­man. Classy com­pany for a pop singer, but she looked great and held her own.

One ex­change lingers par­tic­u­larly in the mem­ory, as Dick and Breath­less meet in her dress­ing room at a New York dive af­ter the mur­der of the gang­ster Lips Man­lis.

‘No grief for Lips?’ growls Beatty.

‘I’m wear­ing black un­der­wear,’ purrs Madonna.

‘You know it’s le­gal for me to take you down to the sta­tion and sweat it out of you un­der the lights...’

Pause. ‘I sweat a lot bet­ter in the dark.’

They don’t write lines like that any more – which is prob­a­bly a good thing – but I’m glad they once did, and I’m qui­etly glad Madonna was around to de­liver them.

ON SONG: Evita (1996)

COM­MO­TION: Who’s That Girl? (1987)

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