A young wife and mother, bored with day-to-day life in New York City and neglected by her husband, slips into increasingly outrageous fantasies: her mother breaking into the apartment, an ... See full summary »
Henrietta Robins works out of her home and her husband Pete drives a cab to try to support her. When Pete gets a tip from one of his fellow drivers that a deal will be made by the Americans... See full summary »
Hillary Kramer, successful Perfume magnate awakes one morning to find that her accountant has robbed her blind and left for South America. Going through all of her remaining assets she ... See full summary »
Can a bickering odd couple in Manhattan become friends and maybe more? Owlish Felix is an unpublished writer who vents his frustration by reporting to the super that the woman in a ... See full summary »
Daisy Gamble, an unusual woman who hears phones before they ring, and does wonders with her flowers, wants to quit smoking to please her fiancé, Warren. She goes to a doctor of hypnosis to ... See full summary »
Executive George Dupler loses his temper and is demoted to the night manager at a 24 hour drugstore. After he suggests to his teenage son Freddie that he stop having an affair with suburban... See full summary »
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 ... See full summary »
1930s in New York. The famous singer Fanny Brice has divorced her first husband Nicky Arnstein. During the depression she has trouble finding work as an artist but meets Billy Rose, a newcomer who writes lyrics and owns his own nightclub. Written by
Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond was originally hired as director of photography, but after executives watched the dailies of the musical number "Great Day", they agreed Zsigmond's lighting style (modeled after musical theatre in the 1930s) was too dark and he was fired. Director Herbert Ross objected, and star Barbra Streisand was surprised by Zsigmond's dismissal. James Wong Howe was coaxed out of his retirement to shoot the film, but midway through he fell ill and was absent for 10 days. In the interim, cinematographer Ernest Laszlo was called in; Laszlo's work included the Aquacade sequence filmed near the USC campus. Aerial photographer Nelson Tyler assisted in the "Let's Hear It for Me" number filmed at Santa Monica's airport. See more »
In the rainy scene where they are leaving the theatre, there are signs posted about "Crazy Quilt" in it's 5th month. The show only had 79 performances from mid-May to July, 1931. See more »
[at her first meeting Billy Rose]
If we hate the same people and you get your suit cleaned, it's a match.
See more »
I first saw "Funny Lady" in 1979, when it was in heavy rotation on Showtime. At the time I loved it. Not a surprise: I was 12, in the early stages of my Barbra Streisand obsession and it was the first one of her movies I had ever seen. When it appeared on TCM recently I decided to take another look now that more than 30 years have passed, my Streisand obsession has cooled and I've since seen "Funny Girl," as well as everything else in the Streisand filmography save "Little Fockers" (you have to draw the line somewhere). I still enjoyed it, but I saw it for what it was: a contractual obligation.
Streisand didn't want to make the movie reportedly only agreeing to it when threatened with a lawsuit and it shows in her performance, the star often appearing annoyed and impatient with the proceedings. But then, who could blame her? The story, loosely based on Fanny Brice's marriage to Billy Rose, isn't fully developed here, lazily told and clumsily directed by Herbert Ross, with montages filling in the cracks between a few dramatic moments and musical numbers. In fact, "Funny Lady" at times plays like one of those vapid vehicles Hollywood sticks singers in just to cash in on his/her popularity, like "Burlesque," to cite a recent (and much worse) example. James Caan, as Rose, is good but he and Streisand never quite click, as if the stars were filmed in separate sound stages and spliced together in the editing room. Roddy McDowell flits at the periphery in the thankless role of Fanny's gay friend/assistant; Omar Sharif reprises his role as Nicky Arnstein in what's little more than an extended cameo, his character now a money grubbing cad; and Ben Vereen is in one musical number and quickly dismissed (the rest of his role landed on the cutting room floor).
I was also struck by how thrown-together the movie looked, with sets and costumes looking like castoffs from "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour" (the "Great Day" musical number in particular could just as easily have been part of Cher's Vegas performances in the '70s). And how about that final scene, set more than a decade later, with Streisand in a horrible helmet of gray hair and Caan's hair and mustache sprayed white, yet neither star looking a day older than 35.
And yet Streisand can still enthrall. I loved her musical numbers, particularly her bitter rendition of "How Lucky Can You Get," the ballad "If I Love Again," and the "Don't Rain on My Parade"-wannabe, "Let's Hear it for Me." Barbra even has some good dramatic moments, particularly a somber scene where Fanny and Rose discuss their relationship after she's catches him in bed with the star of his aquatic revue, Eleanor Holm. "Funny Lady" is less a sequel to "Funny Girl" than a star vehicle. Luckily, Streisand has enough power to drive it, even though this star vehicle doesn't have much under the hood.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?