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Do you enjoy grown men in flaming red suits twirling plates for a half an hour, jumping up in the air with serving platters as if they have frogs in their undershorts? How about food tricks mixed in like this is the amazing Kreskin? You know, they throw the food up in the air and what a miracle? It lands on the dishes, isn't that freaking amazing? Show of hands, how many people thought the food would land on the floor? See, if Gene Kelly were a director, instead of a dancer, he would have known that the scene is boring to anyone who can get ten neurons firing. Want to see why 20th Century Fox cleared out the boardroom after this movie went down in flames? Watch this piece of legendary poop. Babs begins talking as soon as the movie starts doing the worst Mae West impersonation you will ever witness. Babs, buy a mirror honey, you are as close to Mae West as I am to Channing Tatum. OK, buy a clue. Walter Matthau's shop assistants: when they were casting these roles did the calling sheet say: wanted bad acting, talentless boobs as effeminate as possible, no traditional macho men wanted only girlie men need apply. Yes, they are after those two women with the bad hats dressed like draperies. About the same probability that I got off the Hindenburg this afternoon. Please, give us a break; they would date each other.
There is a reason why Babs croons Hello Dolly for ten minutes until you will be looking lovingly at your cutlery: the rest of the score is dreadful. Yes, I loved that fifty pound dress she can barely walk in, oh, what a thrill. She takes three minutes to sing the first verse and does an encore. They were probably rewriting those other eternal classics: It Takes A Director, When The Parade Runs You Over, If You Ain't Got Intelligence, It Only Takes A Vomit Bag, these are the putative masterpieces you adore. Look, you can tell that Walter loathes Babs and vice versa. He is a comedian what is he doing in this movie? Do they look like a couple to you? Was the casting director on an IV when he put this ensemble together? I know Ice Ages that move faster than this boring piece of crap. Hey, do not take my word for it, it almost destroyed 20th Century Fox. People were cleaning out their desks after this hit the theaters. Keep a high voltage source near your chair, you will need it to wake yourself up with.
Babs engages her mouth at Warp factor eight, it never stops prattling, chattering until you will heave every heavy object, in your living room, at your set. She has this oozing arrogance, emetic, smarmy self pleasuring, mugging at the camera that will just grate upon your nerves. What is with the park and the gymnastics? What is Ringling Brothers in town with the circus? Every time Gene has a dead spot, he throws in more gymnastics. They should have cast all the chefs at Benihanas. When I say a giant piece of poop, boring like waiting for the sun to go Red Giant, you have to see this to believe it. The movie puts the capital C in Crap. When my aunt, a big Babs fan, dragged me to watch this, as a little boy, people were leaving en masse halfway through the movie. By the end, there were twenty people out of five hundred. Do not show this to the suicidal. EXCRUCIATING MALODOROUS EXCREMENT
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.
This generation (I'm ashamed to say MY generation) just doesn't seem to
appreciate a good musical, much less one that came out when our parents
were young-ens, heaven forbid! It will be a sad day when these classic
films are forgotten, but fortunately, they are all being remastered and
re-released on DVD for this generation to enjoy if only they would give
them a chance.
I bought the special edition of 'Hello, Dolly' because I adore musicals, especially those from the 50s and 60s when Hollywood really knew how to do it right! The top 3 billings were all people I had heard off... Streisand may not be the easiest person to love, but her voice is astounding... Who could forget Walter Matthau in 'Dennis the Menace', a film slightly more known to my age group... and last but certainly not least, Michael Crawford, a voice I had been listening to since age 3. I grew up listening to his solo albums as well as the original cast recording of 'Phantom.' I will say, he was my main incentive for seeing this film.
'Dolly' is musically and visually stunning. All the principle cast members sing on their own, always a bonus, and the songs are accompanied by some of the most entertaining and memorable dance numbers next to 'A Chorus Line.' One could expect no less since this film is directed by the infamous Gene Kelly. Need I say more? 'Hello Dolly' is by far my favorite of the classics, and believe me, I've seen them all. Sure, you can complain that Barbra was too young to play Miss Dolly Levi, but the woman has talent, you can't deny it no-matter how you feel towards her as a human being. She can sing and she can act, why settle for for someone who fails to meet the former and resort to dubbing? That's the one flaw in 'My Fair Lady.' Matthau is astounding as always, and I have already stated how much I love Crawford. He is just so positively adorable in the role of Cornelius Hackl! Understanably, his gorgeous tenor isn't nearly as developed at age 27 as it was at age 44 when 'Phantom' opened in London, but it's pleasant none-the-less, and his acting is superb as always, flawlessly hiding his lovely accent behind the mousy but sweet demeanor of a Yonkers store clerk.
I love 'Hello, Dolly!' and I would recommend it to anyone who loves the classics. It's funny, uplifting, and heartwarming... what more could a person want in a movie? Don't miss this movie, you're never too young to enjoy the classics.
Well, right off the bat, I will admit that I love this movie. I know it
almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox and that the critics were lukewarm
about it on release in 1969, but they were flat-out wrong. And the
perspective afforded by the passage of time has seen this become one of
the most-loved of the Hollywood blockbuster musicals.
The principals in the cast are all wonderful. Streisand is simply gorgeous and sings beautifully, as does Marianne McAndrew. Matthau is, well, typical Matthau: all wonderful hang-dog expressions of exasperation and a grouchy exterior hiding a warm-hearted soul. Michael Crawford, in an early role, doesn't quite have the voice he developed later in life, but it suits the part of the shy and nervous Hackl.
The music is fabulous. It is one of Jerry Herman's very best pieces of work, in my opinion. It's full of great songs and the finale set-piece, when Dolly returns to the Harmonia Gardens, is magnificent, along with Louis Armstrong's great singing.
Gene Kelly had Michael Kidd onboard as choreographer and he produced some superb set-pieces. The parade scene is incredible and required hundreds of extras. The story might be a bit thin, but the production values more than make up for it. The sets are remarkable, as are the costumes. The fact it was shot in 65mm Todd/AO means that it is a great visual experience, with tremendous detail visible.
This is a truly great musical movie. If you haven't seen it, you really, really, should. You'll been for a treat.
perfectly directed by the wonderful and legendary gene kelly, with a note perfect cast. i was 20 years old when i first saw this film, beforehand, i had no desire to see it as i really did not like streisand. but having seen all the new releases that week, a friend pushed and shoved my into the theatre to see this. after the film we came out floating and dancing and singing, i have since seen it countless times, many times in glorious 70mm. the songs the dances the amazing sets and productions, all have gained in stature and enjoyment. yet again the public and quite a few critics got it so wrong, the film alas sank at the box office, and killed off an uplifting genre. sad also to see junk like chicago get kudos and box office, a film that is so cynical, tuneless and full of noise and empty bombast. performed by people who cannot sing or dance.bring back the old style Hollywood musical i say
While some of the cast of "Hello, Dolly! leaves something to be desired, its sets, costumes, general production values, and choreography cannot be beat. Striesand is miscast, but nobody can fault her for that. She gives it her all, and frankly, I prefer her performance in this film, over her inexplicable star-making turn in "Funny Girl". Lots of money was spent on making this film, and every cent of it can be seen in the finished product. The film is leaps and bounds over almost everything made today. Every musical number is first-rate. This film should ONLY be seen in WIDESCREEN. To view a cropped video tape would be silly, since you would be seeing only half the film. "Hello, Dolly! is lots of fun, and a true testimony to the lost art of fine film-making.
It is hard to finish watching "Hello, Dolly!" without wanting to
strangle director Gene Kelly, or at least sue him for malpractice.
The acting is generally atrocious. I hope this won't hurt any of the actors' feelings, those still alive, because glimpses of competence sneak into their performances now and then, presumably when Kelly wasn't looking.
The most outrageously bad performance is delivered by E.J. Peaker, who seems to be delivering her lines on Laugh In or the Grand 'Ole Opry. Several actors sometimes seem to have dubbed their lines in a studio. Tommy Tune would be lucky to pass a high school drama class with his wide-eyed, goofy performance. Even high schoolers wouldn't ham it up so much.
The only relatively natural acting comes from Marianne McAndrew and Walter Matthau. I suspect Matthau wouldn't let Kelly push him into an exaggerated performance. He probably could see what was coming, that the over-acting would be the film's Achille's heel. We don't see the full Matthau edgy persona; he seems a bit distant. Matthew Crawford delivers the most amusing performance of the film.
When this movie came out, everyone was shocked and disappointed that they weren't going to get to see Carol Channing play Dolly. Everyone in America knew the music, and many had the Broadway cast album, so Channing WAS Dolly. And everyone in America would have gone to see the movie if Channing were in it. Barbara Streisand, on the other hand, was too Sixties in most people's mind to work, and not Matthau's type.
The Broadway production was an enormous success. I don't know why because I never saw it. There was the great music, some dancing, and the fantasy of traveling back 70 years to 1890s New York City.
Fantasies don't need fancy sets; if anything, too much realism can interfere. And that's one of the mistakes this movie makes. The sumptuous sets are among the most amazing ever created for a movie, but were a total waste of money. Guys and Dolls was set in NYC, but many of the movie sets were painted backdrops, and little of it looked realistic, but that didn't stop it from being a great musical. Most musicals are that way, and for a reason: they are fantasies.
Most of the acting was stylized Broadway performances, which clashed with such realistic sets, and just didn't fit a movie. Most of the performances and lines were rushed, which is a problem because the plot gets a bit complex in the beginning. Also, the scenes tend to shift without much connection or flow. It's as though this was a multi-track recorded movie, with each person delivering their performances separately in a sound studio, without any real interaction. There is ZERO chemistry between all of the performers.
Early on, I thought to myself, they should have hired Ernest Lehman to write the script. So I checked, and, oops, they did! Lehman did the screen adaptation of The Sound of Music and wrote North by Northwest. He puts a lot of effort into his writing, so I have to believe this screenplay was as good an adaptation as you could get.
So what went wrong? The directing. Some directors leave actors alone, for the most part, and some give them specific instructions. Kelly must have pushed them into these exaggerated performances, and, I suspect, pushed hard. If he had allowed them to use their judgment and let them interact, the movie would have been much better.
I think Kelly had been a singer-dancer in too many mediocre musicals that he was told were masterpieces, like An American in Paris. So I think he came to believe that if you had lavish, colorful dance numbers and lots of good music the movie would be a big success. But several of the dance numbers are way over the top, as though he is trying to top Fred Astaire, and have little to do with the story. The dancing waiters during Hello Dolly remind me of the Mel Brooks parody, The Producers (the original with Zero Mostel), which was deliberately trying to be as tacky as possible.
Kelly was a pretty good actor, but not great. I guess most of his acting was just being Gene Kelly; perhaps that's why he didn't really know how to direct actors. Just guessing.
The bottom line is that a lot of individual elements of Hello, Dolly! are excellent, but the movie is less than the sum of it's part.
== The story of Louis Armstrong's hit recording of the title tune is interesting. As I recall, he recorded it in one take, never having heard the tune before, in a studio as a favor. It was released after the Broadway show premiered while Armstrong was on tour, and to his puzzlement, suddenly everyone was requesting he perform Hello, Dolly!, a song he barely remember recording. No one imagined the song would be a hit, including Armstrong, except perhaps the composer.
Armstrong re-recorded it in 1964, and, believe me, everyone heard that song on the radio a million times and was whistling the tune; it seemed they never got tired of it. Armstrong had a long career as the premiere jazz musician in America, as well as being a popular performer, but this one song brought him to the attention of a new generation and gave his career a second wind. It was not a sophisticated jazz performance, but I don't think Satchmo minded; he always seemed to want to make music his audience would enjoy.
By the time the movie was finally released in 1969, the music had gotten a bit stale. The world had changed, and musical tastes had changed, too. I hope people today can forgive this movie its flaws so they can enjoy the delightful music.
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
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Don't compare a film to a stage play. Film has more range in which to
perform. A stage is very limited in size and scope.
I loved the dancing and singing in this movie. I feel that the choreography was excellent. I feel that the costuming is beautiful and quite period-specific.
Barbra is the greatest here. Don't compare her to other actresses who portrayed Dolly on stage. Barbra makes the role of Dolly her own. She deftly handles the foibles of Horace/Walter Matthau. Barbra as Dolly coyly and deliberately sets Horace up to be turned down by two other women, so that he can be ripe for the picking when she triumphantly gets her hooks into him. It is all a setup. Barbra has that glint and twinkle in her eye. She, as Dolly, has set up the main characters to appear in the restaurant when Horace has a major comeuppance. Barbra/Dolly knows all of this in advance.
Horace can hug his cash registah at night, but he will certainly miss the companionship that he could have if only he would consider settling down with someone of the feminine persuasion. Wasn't Matthau the slob character in The Odd Couple? In Hello Dolly, Matthau gets all dolled up for the restaurant, plus his wedding suit and top hat make him look just wonderful. Besides, didn't Horace/Matthau look pretty cute in that green, feathery boa? You go your way, and I'll go mine. That boa did him in. It changed him from a stubborn, cranky old bachelor into a surprisingly nice looking bridegroom waiting at the church for Dolly/Barbra.
Clothes. Clothes. Clothes. Dancing. Dancing.
I like the dark red colors in the costuming of Irene Malloy.
I love the gold, slinky, glitzy gown worn by Dolly as she stands at the top of the stairs in the restaurant. She is ready to make her grand entrance, after several years away from this place.
Clothes of the tons of extras/dancers. These costumes and hats are quite a large group of designs, for both men and women. They are quite period specific. There is a dance scene where they are dressed like tennis players. They wear white and light blue striped outfits. They carry tennis rackets in their dancing.
I love the red jacketed waiters and their intricate dancing. They are just superb, the way in which they handle brooms and swirling tablecloths.
Horace is a jerk, saying several nasty and rude things about women. He is such a curmudgeon. Later, he softens toward women. He finally realizes that a softer kind of life beats the heck out of his formerly solitary and lonely way of life.
I just love the parade scene. It was very complicated to organize, choreograph and execute. I enjoy seeing the different groups marching in this parade. There are groups of women devoted to several causes, and there are men who belong to fraternal organizations.
I like seeing the bygone era of horse drawn vehicles. Viewing these scenes quiets one down, who is used to seeing the modern rush of motorized buses, automobiles, trucks, etc.
A half a millionaire might today be a half a gazillionaire???
A-plus for Louis Armstrong.
Ten out of ten.
This film was presented in a monthly film series (@ a society of
retired university faculty & staff). Through the past year, to this
point, all of our films have been interesting. We left half-way through
this one at the intermission (thankfully, there was an intermission so
my partner and I could compare our reactions and find they were
The acting seemed somewhat flat and without much spark or life (despite or because of dramatic gesticulations, voice inflections?). And the dance numbers seemed too long and extravagant and, rather than promoting vitality and interest, dampened ours.
Maybe if we'd stayed to the conclusion, it would have fully redeemed itself?--but we saw nothing in the first 90 minutes to suggest such a promise would be fulfilled.
We both agreed that Barbara Streisand seemed too young for the part she was playing while Walter Matthau, her love interest, looked as if he was going through the motions while playing a role he didn't really want to be in.
I'm glad others enjoy it; different strokes for different folks.
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