Matchmaker Dolly Levi travels to Yonkers to find a partner for "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder, convincing his niece, his niece's intended, and his two clerks to travel to New York City along the way.
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A matchmaker named Dolly Levi takes a trip to Yonkers, New York to see the "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire," Horace Vandergelder. While there, she convinces him, his two stock clerks and his niece and her beau to go to New York City. In New York, she fixes Vandergelder's clerks up with the woman Vandergelder had been courting, and her shop assistant (Dolly has designs of her own on Mr. Vandergelder, you see). Written by
Randy Goldberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Twentieth Century-Fox had agreed to theatrical impresario David Merrick's stipulation that its film could not be released while the Broadway production was still running. As the show was nearing its fourth year on stage by the time filming got under way, it was assumed that it would have closed by the time the movie was ready for release. However, Merrick then replaced his stage actors with an all-black cast led by Pearl Bailey, an acclaimed move which invigorated the theatre box-office considerably. As a result, the finished film spent a year gathering dust in Fox's vaults, and only got released after Fox had come to a lavish financial arrangement with Merrick so that he would waive his stipulation. This added to the film's already huge cost and helped make it an even bigger flop. The stage show ran for some seven years, long after the film's original release. See more »
When Irene and Minnie meet up with Cornelius and Barnaby at Harmonia Gardens they say "We're here" and "Hello" (in a two shot of Irene and Minnie respectively) they then switch to a two shot of Cornelius and Barnaby (when Barnaby tips his cap ) and Cornelius is behind Barnaby's left shoulder. Then the shot changes to a side group shot (where Cornelius kisses Irene's hand) but now his body has jumped a little in front of Barnaby's.. See more »
Somewhat overblown musical, but still excellent and entertaining
This film was certainly beautiful to look at and listen to. I was lucky to see it in 70 mm during its initial roadshow release. It was one of the few movies to have the negative actually filmed in 70 mm, rather than having the standard 35 mm merely blown up to 70 mm for the roadshow. "The Sound of Music" was another picture originally filmed in 70 mm, and we all know how beautiful the cinematography was in that. Sadly, the high cost of 70 mm has essentially ended the use of that type of film format.
"Hello, Dolly!" deserved the Oscars it won, such as musical direction, sound, and art direction-set design. About 15 years ago I stopped in the riverside village of Garrison, New York, to see where it was partially filmed. The real building that was adapted into Vandergelder's Hay & Feed was still there at the time, and "Vandergelder" was etched on the window pane from its use in the film. The bridge over the railway tracks is still there.
As much as I like the film as a whole, it does have some problems that could have been easily corrected. The early scene with Walter Matthau and Tommy Tune arguing over Ermengarde is overly dramatic and simply too theatrical. It might have been fine on Broadway, but the genre of cinema requires a bit of toning down. I blame this purely on Gene Kelly, the director, who should have known better. He is the one who is supposed to sense the pacing and delivery of lines. I get the impression he was trying to speed things up, knowing that there is a lot to fit into the picture. The screenplay was naturally required to closely follow the original material, but it could have been simplified a bit without sacrificing anything important. An example of this is the endless number of times that the audience is reminded that the main characters are going "to New York" by train. Once was enough.
Still, the music and choreography are superb, and carry the picture. Not everyone in it can sing as beautifully as Barbra Streisand, but it succeeds nonetheless. The number "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" is one of Hollywood's golden moments in terms of production quality. I have seen Carol Channing do the stage version and she was great, but I also feel that Barbra Streisand was perfectly adequate here. She can sing better than Ms. Channing and has real star quality.
If you visit the interesting Hudson River area of New York state, you will be warmly reminded of the scenic beauty in "Hello, Dolly!" Drop by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to take the public tour and you will see the magnificent setting where the final wedding scene was done, minus the church of course.
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