The life of Fanny Brice, famed comedienne and entertainer of the early 1900s. We see her rise to fame as a Ziegfield girl, subsequent career and her personal life, particularly her relationship with Nick Arnstein.
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Early twentieth century New York. Fanny Brice knows that she is a talented comedienne and singer. She also knows that she is not the beauty typical of the stage performers of the day, she with skinny legs and a crooked nose among other physical issues. So she knows she has to use whatever other means to get her break in show business, that break so that she can at least display her talents. With the help of Eddie Ryan who would become her friend, Fanny is able to get a part in a novelty act in a vaudeville show, the renown from which eventually comes to the attention of famed impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.. Fanny does become one of the Ziegfeld Follies most popular acts, despite she almost getting fired after her first performance by defying Flo's artistic vision for her closing number. Beyond stage success, Fanny also wants a happy personal life, most specifically with the suave Nicky Arnstein, a gambler in every respect of the word. Fanny loves him and loves that he loves her ... Written by
Every time a film is made about a real-life figure, particularly a show business figure, people love to complain that the movie is not accurate regarding the facts of that person's life. If the truth be told, if movie biographies were strictly about the facts, no one would go to see them, because for the most part, the facts don't make for great entertainment and Fanny Brice is no exception. The 1968 musical FUNNY GIRL has been maligned for years because it is not a very accurate representation of the facts of Fanny Brice's life. If you want to learn about Fanny Brice's life, read a biography or go on the internet, but if you want to see an amazing movie musical spotlighting a legendary performer at the beginning of her amazing career, then you can't beat FUNNY GIRL, the 1968 musical based on the 1964 Broadway musical that made Barbra Streisand a star. Streisand tied with Katharine Hepburn for the Best Actress Oscar for this charismatic star turn as the young girl from Henry Street who becomes a big star of the Ziegfeld Follies and has a heartbreaking romance with a charming gambler named Nick Arnstein, played by Omar Sharif. Streisand is in practically every frame of this film and never makes you wish otherwise...one of the great performances in the history of cinema...whether she is defying Florenz Ziegfeld by refusing to appear in the finale or chasing an ocean liner to be with Nick, Streisand gives the one-woman performance of a lifetime here. Directed by Oscar-winner William Wyler, Streisand is lovingly photographed and effectively showcases the Jule Styne-Bob Merrill score, which includes classics like "People" and "Don't Rain On My Parade". Some changes have been made in the score from the stage musical but Streisand makes it all work and the finale "My Man" is just devastating. It's not an accurate biography of the vaudeville legend, but as a dazzling and entertaining movie musical, it's hard to top this one.
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