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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 <email@example.com>
The miscasting of Barbra Streisand is an interesting topic of discussion regarding this movie. She's way too young, as everyone else has said; despite slight changes to the script and giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, it's silly to think that a woman in her mid twenties would have built up both the social contacts and worldly sangfroid that the character possesses. That said, however, she does about as well as anyone could ask playing a role she was 3 decades too young for. The animosity between Barbra and Walter Matthau is another problem--they have no chemistry together whatsoever. While his annoyance with her at the beginning is believable, the turnabout at the end comes across completely false. Fortunately, the movie has many other charms to make up for that central problem.
My favorite part of the movie, and the heart of the film, is the "courtship" of Cornelius & Irene and Barnaby & Minnie Fay. Michael Crawford and the late Danny Lockin are absolutely adorable as Cornelius and Barnaby. The "Dancing" and "Elegance" numbers and the dinner scene at the Harmonia Gardens are worth the price of admission alone. Barbra plays better with the rest of the cast too; she's more believable as a "woman of the world" when she's with the younger cast members. The production design is wonderful as well. While the movie was outrageously expensive for its time, just about every dollar is visible on screen. The claustrophobic musicals they've made since the Seventies really look deficient when compared to the wide-open dance scenes and crowd shots in classic musicals like this one.
All in all, Hello, Dolly has much to offer. It's not the best musical ever made by a long shot, but it's undeniably fun to watch. It would be fun to see Barbra play the role now that she's a more appropriate age for it. Unfortunately, she doesn't do musicals anymore. Maybe Tyne Daly would take the part.
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