On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) Poster

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My All Time Favorite Movie
betazoid319 March 2005
Okay, granted you have to like Barbra Streisand to love this movie. But for those of you who don't, it's worth a catch just to see Bob Newhart and Jack Nicholson as "young" men. Jack is especially funny in his short scenes with Barbra and her fiancée...

But the main reason to see this flick is the acting and musical talent of Barbra. She has to STRETCH to play a mousy crowd follower, and then switch it up to play a haughty wealthy socialite in a past time period. The costumes are out of this world, and the film should have won an academy award for costume design, although Barbra's figure did her costumes justice. The periods in history represented by the film are stunningly presented. All in all, this is my favorite movie of all time. There is laughter, sorrow, drama, singing, dancing, lots of Barbra skin showing, sexuality, scorn, mocking, a panorama of events and celebrations and Barbra's eventual awakening as her own person. I salute Vicente Minnelli, post mortem.
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A Wonderful, Old Fashion, Musical
macheath4828 May 2004
On A Clear Day came at the end of the Movie Musical Cycle that started strong from MY FAIR LADY. Once the market became supersaturated with musicals (Half A Sixpence, Dr. Doolittle), the beauty of the movie musical wore off.

On A Clear Day started life as the next go-round for Richard Rodgers. After he retired working with Oscar Hammerstein, he partnered with Alan Lerner and they started to write this musical. Rodgers backed out of the project but the show made it to Broadway with Barbara Harris in the lead. It was respectfully received but never did blockbuster business. In fact, if it weren't for the song "What Did I Have?" it would almost be forgotten.

Enter Vincente Minelli and Ms. Streisand. Together, they took the idea and ran with it until it became a big, bright, lovely movie. The old songs (the title song and "What Did I Have") are rendered priceless by Barbra who sings them as emotional tour-de-forces. The new songs (a cute duet "Go To Sleep" and "Love With All The Trimmings") are wonderful. In fact, the latter was filmed a la Tom Jones. In short, everything about the film worked.

Originally it was three hours long and intended as a road show production (tickets ordered in advance; two shows a day). Paramount went for the fast buck and they trimmed it to under two hours. Yes, what is left is priceless and wonderful but I wish they would release the Director's Cut of this musical. If what we see today is still excellent, I can't help but wonder about what they took out.
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Gets better every time.
Xanadu-230 December 2000
On A Clear Day improves and is more enjoyable for each viewing. The first time I saw it was such a huge elephant of a movie, a baffling entertaining jumble. So many ideas propped into one movie to make it popular and a box office hit in a time of change and when the big movie companies were desperately seeking hits to save themselves from ruin.

So this movie is crammed when ingredients that had proven successful in earlier movies in the 60´s : Barbra Streisand and a musical score (Funny Girl), gigantic sets and costumes in 19th century style (My Fair Lady), 60´s mod clothing, a big European star for the overseas market (Montand), new young stars (Nicholson) for counterculture hippy flavor, student riots (very 'now' then), reincarnation and telepathy (sci-fi), british accents both snobby and cockney (swinging London)…

Barbra is one of the biggest talents of the 20th century and was born a little too late. Those huge musicals she stars so well in where dated then and she would have been better off in the 40s or 50s. She is very beautiful, womanly and sexy when she is in period costume. In the modern scenes she is fascinating and a little annoying when she´s trying to be a kooky 60´s chick à la Twiggy.

Yves Montand is miscast even though he has earthy European charm. He is unbelievable because he cannot pronounce the dialouge!!!!! His diction is a disaster and didn´t do the film any favors. Was there really no other singer for the male lead?

The songs are very good and underrated. Why does one never hear them as other musical classics? The direction from Vincente Minelli works since the film is very lush and enthralling. The period costumes by Cecil Beaton are beautiful without being too much and look great on Babs. The snazzy Scaasi mod clothes are a hoot!

It is very ambitious combinig so many elements and hope it works. Despite it all the film does have charm and one is drawn into 2 hours of pure Hollywood entertainment and at the same time it is fascinating to see one of the very last old time Hollywood productions. (It was already outdated when it was released 1970. Bad timing; the movie must have seemed as ancient as a dinosaur. It was apparently longer. There was supposedly a scene with Babs, Jack and 'Warren' at a disco but it got cut…I would LOVE to see the original version!!!!! This is good fun to watch on rainy day…forever…
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Masterly coda to one of Hollywood's greatest careers.
alice liddell12 June 2000
ON A CLEAR DAY opens with two extraordinary sequences. Firstly, with Babs singing the title song, there is a montage of flowers growing at speed in front of our very eyes, a decisively Minnellian melange of colour and artifice to create a real eye-dazzlingly emotional explosion which reaches an ecstatic crescendo as Babs skips through a maze of floral abundance. This is followed by a chilling, antithetical credits sequence, a VERTIGOesque assembly-line of diminishing rectangles in cool, gorgeous colours, in which the familiar Broadway music feels distorted and distant.

These two sequences encapsulate the film's conflict - between heart and mind; emotion and intellect; freedom and order; dream and reality; self-expression and conformity. In 1970, the age of BONNIE AND CLYDE, M*A*S*H and WOODSTOCK, a Minnelli/Lerner/Streisand musical must have seemed amusingly quaint, but today, we can marvel at its audacity and flair, while many of its more acclaimed contemporaries seem tinny and shrill.

The narrative proper seems initially mundane after such abstract excess. Daisy Gamble (perfect name!) interrupts a lecture by famed psychologist, Marc Chabot, being accidentally hypnotised as he demonstrates on a pupil. She is a scatty, ditzy loudmouth who has come to Chabot in the hope that he will manipulate her out of a 5-packs a day smoking habit to please her ultra-conformist fiance, Warren, who has a career-crucial business dinner.

Chabot has little interest in this clumsy pest until he discovers that she has some psychic powers. Intrigued, he explores her through hypnosis and discovers her past-life as a supremely resourceful, sexually magnetic, orphaned Cockey golddigger of the Regency, who is standing trial for espionage and treason, her caddish husband having deserted her. Chabot begins to fall in love with this remarkable woman, and believing, against all his rationalist principles, in reincarnation.

Even by Minnelli's standards, this is a bravely open-ended picture, not only in its unexpected denouenment, but in refusing to simplify the bewildering, complicated emotions his characters become prey to. On a simple structural level, he contrasts conformity with the life of emotion and imagination. Chabot is a doctor whose devotion to science and facts is almost monkish in its celibate form. His office is the embodiment of conformity, a bland brown pervading walls, chairs, fittings, barred windows, books, even his own clothes. Despite being Yves Montand, he is no French lover.

Into his life comes this impossible woman whose striving for fiance-pleasing order results in further chaos. In her second incarnation, as Melinda, she brings bawdiness, vulgarity, romance, humour, daring, but, most of all, colour, sumptuous, ravishing, blinding colour. The effect she has on Chabot is reflected in the film's form, which moves from steady, mid-level, classical compositions, to outrageous fancy, dizzying camera movements, mercurial editing cutting across time and space. Chabot soon begins to have Daisy's dreams, while she becomes divided from herself in a remarkable visualisation of the split between duty and desire.

But it's not enough to suggest simplistic dichotomies - even the 'normal' Daisy has a rooftop garden which is simply magical (isn't that such a lovely idea, a woman who makes flowers grow quickly by talking to them?), while her fiance, like Darrin from BEWITCHED, is so desperate to conform that he becomes mad. 'Sciences', such as psychoanalysis are invoked in the spirit of the times, but the Pandora's Box they open in no way 'explain', but sets free, as Chabot ruefully recognises.

This is all significantly gendered as men try to control and explain a woman who darts gleefully through history, place, morality, while barely taking a break. As ever with Minnelli, the celebration of artifice only reveals how repressive real-life is, and his satire is cutting if you care to look. This is an undervalued, joyous, sad coda to one of Hollywood's greatest careers (Minnelli would go on to make only one more movie), as full of invention and love as his first film, CABIN IN THE SKY.

The music is fine, with little of the heartache as GIGI or fun of MY FAIR LADY. Montand is charming in a thankless role, but Barbara Streisand - and, God help me, I never thought I'd say this - is an absolute joy in a double (treble?) role, especially convincing in saucy period dress, yet, moving when she needs to be.
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An Under-Rated Charmer
gftbiloxi13 August 2005
Based on the marginally successful 1965 Broadway musical with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Learner and a solid score by Burton Lane, the 1970 ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER was no box office disaster--but it was a disappointment, failing to draw a broad audience and performing much more poorly than any one had imagined. This is a pity, for although it cannot be classed among the truly great musical musicals it is nonetheless a very good one, imaginatively filmed and beautifully performed.

The story concerns a scatter-brained young woman named Daisy Gamble (Barbra Streisand) who is desperate to quit smoking and who lays siege to a noted hypnotist Dr. Charbot (Yves Montand.) But it happens that Daisy, for all her goofiness, is unexpectedly gifted: she can find lost items, she knows when the telephone will ring--and once under hypnosis she stuns Charbot by transforming into Melinda, a woman who lived, loved, and died more than a century before.

The cast is superior. Streisand is memorably fresh in the role of Daisy and performs her numbers with remarkable youthful zeal and a flawless artistry; she is a tremendous amount of fun to watch and an endless pleasure to hear. Although it seems many Americans fail to see the appeal of the great French singer and actor Yves Montand, he handles his songs with the same world-weary style that first brought him to the attention of the legendary Edith Piaf--and it proves a remarkably effective foil for Streisand, setting off her expansive performance to perfection. The remaining cast, which includes a very young Jack Nicholson and Bob Newhart, is equally fine.

This was the last musical for Vincent Minnelli, perhaps the greatest director of golden age musicals and creator of such films as MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, and he endows the film with his very elegant eye; the "past life" sequences, in which designer Cecil Beaton had a hand, are particularly beautiful. Add in such beautifully orchestrated and performed songs as "It's Lovely Up Here," "Come Back To Me," and the title piece--and when all is said and done ON A CLEAR DAY is a very enjoyable film indeed.

The film was originally intended to be released in a three hour version--but in the wake of several box office disasters for large scale musicals both Minnelli and the studio thought better of it and cut the film significantly. It would seem these scenes are gone forever, and more's the pity. Still, this no-frills DVD release offers a best-possible print in terms of both sound and picture, and both long-time fans and newcomers will adore it. Recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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Pleasant musical
laffinsal19 February 2001
This is one of those musicals that rarely gets talked about. Even the original stage version is not as well known as say, "Oklahoma!" or "West Side Story", but it should be. It has some wonderful music and an intriguing story.

However, comparing the stage version of this show with the film would be pointless, because all filmed musicals of Broadway shows usually change in more then a few ways. As for this film, it is a charming watch, and an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. You don't need to be fans of either of the lead actors, but it does help if you are a musical fan and are somewhat interested in the science of ESP.

The songs in this film are all great, not one of them are what I would consider "filler". A few of the original songs from the stage show have been replaced here with different pieces, but they are good ones nontheless. My only complaint in them is Yves Montand's singing. It's difficult enough to understand his spoken word, but it's even worst when he sings. John Cullum's singing in the original Broadway version is so clear and strong, and Montand is just not at par with that. Still, the quality of the songs themselves, make up for this. The Technicolor is stupendous, lusch and vivid. It's a shame that the film was cut so badly before it was released. Not having seen that version, it's difficult for me to say whether or not it would have been an improvement over the finished product, but I doubt it. As it is, this is a decent, pleasant musical film, and worth watching if you are a fan of the genre.
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Barbra is so Barbra and that's why the movie is there.
budmassey20 January 2003
The critics savaged this one, so it must be good. Personally, I love it. Barbra is so Barbra and that's why the movie is there in the first place. Kvetching between her overbearing fiancé and a psychiatrist who is in love with the girl she used to be, literally, she sings to flowers and makes them grow and finds lost things and, oh yes, the phone is about to ring.

A young Jack Nicholson is her free spirited step-brother, and though he would not emerge as a star for several more years, he's every inch the Nicholson you know and love. There are great turns by Bob Newhart and Yves Montand, both a little stiff as you would expect, but in the end, Clear Day is exhilarating and uplifting. The DVD edition is manna from heaven, since widescreen is the only way to view good cinema, and the soundtrack is flawless in digital.
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Just the period visuals make it worth watching, let alone the songs!
jbernabeus26 August 2002
I find "On a Clear..." to be a delicious example of a star vehicle which lets the star (Barbra Streisand in this instance) show her great abilities to the movie's advantage. The period characterization is almost unbelievable, Cecil Beaton's costumes are beyond wonderful. He manages to make Barbra look actually beautiful and stunning in the scene where she is seducing Robert Tentrees, thus making the situation more realistic. After all it is supposed to be a musical comedy, not historical drama, and as such, it is highly entertaining. For me it is a gem.
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A truly fine, fine film.
rdvinct23 March 2003
On A Clear day You can See Forever is truly a wonderful, feel good movie. Barbra Streisand's portrayl of Daisy Gamble is absolutely endearing. The character of Daisy is so sweet and child-like, and at the same time cooky and hysterically clumsy. In the very same movie she also portrays a sophisticated seductress of Brittish decent from the 19th century. Completely the opposite of her Daisy Gamble character. Daisy goes to see a doctor to help her quit smoking and while under hypnosis reveals the personality of Melinda, the Brittish seductress. Her doctor falls for Melinda, but is not in any way interested in Daisy in a romantic way. However, Daisy thinks the doctor is falling in love with her, and she certainly is falling in love with him. It is this plot, combined with the movies vivid color and great songs, as well as Barbra's wonderful dimmensions of acting in this film, and a terrific supporting cast, that make it such a treat to watch. By the end of the movie, you TRULY, REALLY "FEEL" Daisy's sense of feeling better about herself and loving herself for who she is. Although I have enjoyed Barbra's other musicals,(some more than others),this one is the only one that, I feel, truly leaves you with a sense of wonderment. On A Clear day You Can See Forever is an EXCELLENT, WONDERFUL movie. A visual and audial treat. Enjoy it.
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Great, w/ a few qualifications
rzajac11 December 2008
Just saw it, and I loved it! What struck me was the beauty of the writing; truly intelligent and exciting dialog, solidly worldly and then suddenly transcendent. There was this one moment near the end where Montand is giving Daisy his impassioned pep talk, leading to a capstone pronouncement. He pauses.... And I knew exactly what he was going to say before he said it; and not because it was melodramatically predictable, but rather because it was magnificently true.

My only qualification is a "drat it" regret that not all the songs were great. Half were well crafted, and the other half are poor-to-middling, with one having truly cringe-inducing lyrics. That's too bad; dropped the ball there. But the blockbuster songs are excellent. I'd always wanted to hear more Montand, and there he was giving the songs the timing and smooth delivery one expects from a great entertainer.

I can see why some folks think of this as a lesser period piece. But, like I said, I feel the writing lifts this out of the period and invites us to listen and watch with everything we have. And isn't that what art is supposed to do? Watch it.
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Cloudy... with low dramatic stakes
T Y23 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In trying to keep up with the hipness of youthful audiences as the 70s approached, OaCD,YCSF was the product of odder and odder material selected for musicalization. Here it's past life regression, ESP and hypno-therapy... pretty loopy! The real problem with the concept (music or not) are the extraordinarily low dramatic stakes; just where can a movie go, and what can happen, when a man falls in love with a previous incarnation of a girl he can't stand? It can't go any place new, but strangely, it can't even go any place old! Indeed, if it could, audiences would still have no interest in the union of Yves Montand (playing a much older, arrogant, French ass) and Streisand. (a much younger girl). We never become invested in them, their situations or outcomes. Montand is miscast and his strong accent makes many of his lyrics unintelligible.

It's all been given a shallow 60s veneer that makes it eminently disposable; despite efforts here and there from Minelli that are respectable. It's not even adapted from a non-musical story that met with any previous success... that's just too passe! Streisand occasionally has some funny business to offer, as when she's trying not to fall asleep on her roof and improvises an energetic dance. But she over-relies on her ingratiating (translation: irritating) kooky, Jewish girl shtick. She can however sing very well, at both the "gentle" and "powerhouse" ends of the range. Amidst a score of musical dross, she gets 3 or 4 amazing songs* of much higher caliber than anything Fanny or Dolly had to offer. 'He isn't you' is a sweet trifle as sublime as Lorenz Hart's 'My Funny Valentine,' but the movie isn't able to realize any impact from it; because the lyrics don't seem to be referring to anything in the movie, and nothing remotely suggests a great love is blossoming between Chabot and Melinda.

The only cut we can view is a poor hatchet job of a much bigger film. Strong research shows a longer, better-explained and more decorative, but not necessarily a better film at: http://barbra-archives.com/films/clear_day_streisand_2.html. You can be sure there's be more Babs in that version but more importantly, there'd be more thoughtful work from Minelli.

In the end Montand sends Babs off to sing the title song, after she discovers he's a total dick who feeds her a self-esteem homily to allow himself off the hook. And she takes the bait. So, uh... hooray for that.

(*Hurry it's lovely up here, Love with all the trimmings, He isn't you, & the title song)
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A few clouds in that clear sky!
Greg Couture11 July 2003
This is one of those films that one would like to praise without reservation, but, alas!, some elements are not quite up to the high level of some of its attributes.

Streisand, after that stunning title montage (Love those blooming flowers and the clever lyrics that coax them into the sunshine!) is a bit grating in her opening scenes as Daisy Gamble, though she mellows somewhat as the modern-day plot progresses. However she more than rises to the occasion when Melinda is exhumed and she gets to parade about in Cecil Beaton's absolutely stunning accoutrements. Montand, who seems to have learned his lines phonetically (A foreign accent can be charming but he seems to be exaggerating his!), is serviceable, sings on key, and manfully wades through the machinations of the scriptwriters, what with the absurd brouhaha over reincarnation among the university's powers-that-be and Dr. Chabot's stubborn reluctance to admit that Daisy has psychic powers, et cetera. John de Cuir does his usual eye-filling wonders with the production design, beautifully aided by Harry Stradling, Sr.'s use of the Panavision/Technicolor cameras. And, of course, Burton Lane's score has a few liltingly listenable songs that propel the story quite felicitously. And there's the bonus of two of my favorite actresses, Mabel Albertson and Irene Handl, to add some sly support. (And, one must reluctantly mention Jack Nicholson, youthfully handsome in his brief appearance here, now a gothic ruin of his former self...Must be all those ill-tempered characters he's since played, as well as the reported off-screen dissipation in the decades since.)

But Nelson Riddle, undeniably one of the all-time great arrangers for singers like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, seems the wrong choice to orchestrate and conduct the musical elements. His work seems a little thin and not equal to the lush visual panoply. And, I suspect, Vincente Minnelli was hampered by the producer, Howard Koch, whose credits suggest a level of taste and achievement more oriented to audiences that preferred something less refined than what might have best suited this enterprise. The direction seems a bit diffuse, and even dispirited, and certainly not up to the standard of Minnelli's best in his halcyon days at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Nevertheless, I'll admit I enjoyed it when I saw it during its theatrical release, but beware of non-letterboxed video transfers. "Formatting" will reduce this one to considerably less than its makers intentions. If a DVD release comes along and you're a Streisand (or Minnelli) fan, it'll be worth the wait.
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Only marginally successful as play and film...
Neil Doyle3 October 2006
There are times in ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER where you know Vincente Minnelli had a firm hand on the proceedings and there are moments when BARBRA STREISAND does an outstanding job on the vocals. But there are just as many dull spots in the long-winded musical that is stronger when it's showing flashbacks to Victorian England than it is in getting us involved in the modern day story.

Once again, Babs has the spotlight while the men around her are insufficiently used--men like YVES MONTAND (did he ever find a good role in an American film?), JACK NICHOLSON and JOHN RICHARDSON. She's adept at playing a girl who undergoes psychosis and reveals to her doctor (Montand) that she has another veddy British lady, Melinda, inside her, who has much more class than her modern personality. Naturally, the doctor falls in love with her other persona.

The Broadway musical by Alan J. Lerner was never an overwhelming success and the movie fails to maintain steam once the basic plot is set in motion. It's a lush looking affair, especially the Victorian scenes with Streisand in some stunning Cecil Beaton outfits, but the overall effect is one of emptiness at the heart of the story.

Summing up: No doubt Streisand's fans will probably welcome it with open arms as it does showcase her own brand of talent.
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My Fair Lady Reincarnated
Junker-225 August 2005
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" is nothing more than a New Age update of the "Pygmalion" / "My Fair Lady" story: A professor attempts to turn a common girl into an upper society woman. This time, however, instead of using language skills, the professor tries to do so by hypnotism and past life regression.

You know a musical has problems when reviewers constantly mention the sets and the costumes before they mention the plot and the music. The songs are instantly forgettable. (No "Get Me to the Church on Time" here, I'm afraid.) And the plot goes nowhere. To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, there is no "there" here. The characters wander through the story without ever getting from point A to point B. Professor Chabot claims several times that he will get to the root of Daisy's troubles, but he never seems to do so.

All meaningful conflict is avoided. For instance, there comes a time when Chabot's university demands he either stop his research into reincarnation or resign his position. Now there is conflict! Will he give up his career for Daisy? Alas! Nothing comes of this development. A scene or two later the university changes its mind and tells Chabot to continue on with his work. So much for conflict.

The talent was certainly assembled for this movie: Directed by Vincente Minnelli. Written, in part, by Alan Jay Lerner. A cast of Yves Montand, Bob Newhart and Jack Nicholson. And, oh yes, starring Barabara Striesand who was nearly at the top of her game at this point in her career.

But it all falls flat. Lerner's attempt to reincarnate his greatest success, the previously mentioned "My Fair Lady," is as doomed to failure as Daisy's attempt to revive the greatness of her own past.

If you enjoy movie musicals, there are far better choices than this.
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"What wizardry and voodoo you can do!"
moonspinner5516 January 2001
Reincarnation musical-comedy from director Vincente Minnelli has kooky, chain-smoking Barbra Streisand revealing an extravagant past life while under hypnosis. I rather liked Yves Montand's itchy, hesitant, scowling performance as Dr. Marc Chabot, falling for Barbra's past incarnation but abhorring her modern-day Daisy Gamble. Critics at the time totally dismissed Montand, yet he's almost charming while fighting with Daisy on her rooftop or singing, "Thees ees ah dweem, Meelinduhhhh..." Streisand is sultry in the film's best sequence, decked out in a white, bejeweled turban while the soundtrack plays "Love With All The Trimmings", and she's very cute dishing with Jack Nicholson, playing her ex-step-brother. "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" is, like its title, a bit long and cumbersome, yet it has grand designs and color and features several bright songs. Nicholson (with the hilariously bland name of Tad Pringle!) is amusingly out-of-it and Larry Blyden is a hoot as Daisy's anal-retentive fiancé. Good show! *** from ****
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The film lacked sparkle
raymond-1061 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
First of all I'd like to say I'm no great lover of Barbara Steisand's work so I even surprised myself that I would want to view another of her films. Perhaps I was charmed by the title "On a clear day you can see forever" which has a certain magic about it.

I once knew a gardener who talked to his plants and we have all had odd experiences concerning a telephone call or a knock at the door or meeting a long lost friend. i suppose you would call them premonitions and quite unexplainable. So Daisy Gamble with her cigarette addiction as well was not so different from the rest of us and she had enough sense to seek psychiatric help.

Flashbacks in the film added a welcome degree of variety because for me the film lacked sparkle and at times was on the edge of boredom. At times I was wondering how much longer the film would continue because it was beginning to feel rather drawn out. In a really good film you are craving for more.

I think the songs were a really great let down. None of them was particularly catchy, a tune that would stay with you for the next few days or so. I can understand why the original Broadway production was not an outstanding success.

The actors in this film seemed somewhat tired and disinterested. As a comparison check out once more "Hello Dolly" with an enthusiastic cast and great vocals and you'll see what i mean.
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Pure escapism
Maciste_Brother7 April 2007
I'm not a big Barbra Streisand fan. I've seen a couple of her films and I never liked them, so when I watched ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER, my expectations were low. After seeing ON A CLEAR DAY, I'm still not a Streisand fan but I have to say that it's the first time I enjoyed one of her films. It's not altogether successful and some of Streisand's usual shtick was annoying from time to time.

The main problem with ON A CLEAR DAY was the structure of the story. It's very uneven and because there are several different timelines, one taking place in the present, and two or three during the past, plus the myriad of songs sung by Streisand and the great Yves Montand, sometimes in different styles, the whole thing just didn't jibe. To make matters worse, the movie is filled with an endless number of incongruous ideas and themes, many of them borrowed from other musicals of the 1960s (MY FAIR LADY, CAMELOT, OLIVER, etc), or original to this musical but still conflicting with each other, like ESP, reincarnation, hypnotism, regression, multiple personalities, making plants grow faster, blackmail, court cases, death penalty, Streisand's square boyfriend, smoking, etc, none which are fully explored and with everything ending up muddled for nothing.

There are even more problems with ON A CLEAR DAY. The story is never clear over what we're supposed to feel for Streisand and Montand. Are they supposed to fall in love? Were they supposed to be lovers or were they always supposed to remain platonic because of the doctor - patient relationship? Does Montand only love Melinda? Where were they going with all the conflicts between the two? The resolution of their relationship is not satisfactory at all.

Then there's the whole tedious part when Montand is in trouble with the university and he might lose his job. This plot point served no purpose at all and should have been left on the cutting room's floor. And the film is painfully dated during the contemporary scenes.

There was just too much going on. Like DARLING LILI, another ill-fated musical released in 1970, ON A CLEAR DAY suffers from a clear case of multiple personalities. Unlike LILI, this Streisand musical is not a disaster. It's just that the story and direction were all over the place. There was no focus and if there was a story that needed focus, it's this one. With better direction, and without the dated set-up in the contemporary scenes, this film could have been amazing.

There are still nuggets of greatest to be found here and there amidst the beautiful mess. My favorite scene is the one when we hear Streisand singing "Love With All The Trimmings" while Babs, as Melinda Tentrees, flirts with the ridiculously handsome John Richardson. It's so over-the-top in it's depiction of romance novel lushness that the only thing you can do is admire this bit of nonsense. In fact, if you don't think too much about ON A CLEAR DAY and follow it for what it is, the movie is pure escapism. You're sorta whisked away into an adventure that takes place in the mind. I just wished it knew what it wanted to be and that Streisand wasn't wearing those dated & scary 1960s clothes.
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An absolute delight
robb_77220 April 2006
This was one of the very last of the lavish screen musicals to be made in the classic mode, and, by the time of it's early 1970 theatrical release, it already seemed tired and dated. This is why it is somewhat shocking that, when viewed today, ON A CLEAR DAY is not only tremendously entertaining, but that it's also possibly the most underrated film of both director Vincent Minnelli and star Barbra Streisand. The film's reincarnation theme was pretty cutting-edge back in the early-seventies, and it still feels unique even today. The film received fair-to-negative reviews from critics at the time, and even though it proved to be a modest hit at the box office, it has been long forgotten by the general public, and it even goes unlisted on many of Streisand's selected filmographies. This is a shame, for Streisand's highly impressive dual performance may prove to be a revelation for some of her admirers and critics alike.

Streisand does some of her very best screen work in the film's frequent flashbacks. Not only does she look absolutely beautiful as Melinda in Cecil DeVille's many elaborate costumes, but her Regency- era poise and accent are completely flawless. Streisand also gives one of her most likable performances as kooky Daisy (her character's present-day incarnation), and her outstanding performance(s) make the contrast between the two characters completely convincing and believable. Yves Montad is acceptable in his role - I don't believe he really deserved all of the criticism that he's received over the years, yet I do find his performance to be somewhat stiff. Having said that, though, Montad is perfectly serviceable as the skeptical hypnotist. Jack Nicholson, Bob Newhart, and John Richardson appear in small supporting roles, and, though they all feel rather underused, their appearances here are all great fun.

However, there's something about the Streisand-Minnelli pairing that seems to have brought out the best in the two legendary talents. The flashback segments in particular provide the perfect showcase for Minnelli's imaginative visuals, and these are also the very scenes that allow Streisand to stretch the most as an actress. In particular, the "Love And All The Trimmings" sequence is easily one of the best moments that Minnelli ever captured on film, and Streisand has rarely been more intensely seductive than in this one sequence. Score-wise, the soaring title song is the only real classic of the eight Lenner-Lowe compositions, but a few of the others (the comic "Go To Sleep," the gorgeous "He Isn't You") are nearly as great. Bottom line: ON A CLEAR DAY is a film that's usually funny, sometimes touching, and always inventive and enjoyable. It's undervalued gem if there ever was one.
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This is a prime example of what "Entertainment" should be.
fllpmp4 January 2003
I'm a sucker for Romantic Comedy Fantasy movies and even more so when Musical is also included in the classification. This is not a movie for intellectuals, but it is hugely entertaining to anyone who likes this kind of movie. Yves Montand is a bit wooden throughout, but Barbra Streisand is at her bubbling best and I love the title song. Strangely enough, this movie does not exist in France with French subtitles, so I only have a copy of the English version. I cannot wait for the day when it is available on DVD with French subtitles.
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Great music, great costumes, twisted premise - reincarnation is fun!
Sue (aunt_su)22 February 2005
This is one of my favorite musicals and not just because I like the way Barbra sings. The premise of the musical, that Daisy Gamble, the female lead, is a reincarnated version of Melinda Twelvetrees, a psychic who died after being betrayed by her husband, is different from any musical I've seen. The songs, especially the title song, are wonderful;I find myself humming them for days after watching. And the costumes are fantastic! I especially like Daisy Gamble's wardrobe because it reminds me of the styles I wore during the late 60s or early 70s. And the headdress Barbra Streisand wears as Melinda makes her look gorgeous, like the bust of Nephrititi. I can hardly wait 'til this musical comes out on DVD.
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A classic in its own right........
Msdenny26 August 2004
Although I usually am not a chic flick kinda person this movie is fun and light and is enjoyable every time it is viewed. Barbra Streisand is a ditz to perfection who like Shirley McClain has lived many lives and under hypnosis with Dr. Chabot vividly describes to our fascination how she lived, loved and died. The period pieces throughout the film are delightful and add to the entire story.

The music is perfection and the small parts including Jack Nicholson as a beloved step-brother adds like every other person in this movie.

Sorry guys, they should make more like this and we could feel entertained after a movie more often.
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My Fair Barbra missing at Paramount
ptb-827 February 2004
I just bought the new Paramount DVD and how's this: there are NO extra scenes, no production material, scene stills NO extras at all! How can this be? What is wrong at Paramount that this DVD is not presented in it's full uncut version we all know exists. It was cut down to what is here in 1970 and again now in 2006. It is a well known fact this film was longer and even in 1969 many stills appeared in magazines from the Later, cut material, especially the futuristic scenes when Daisy and the Doctor meet reincarnated in a later life: one famous still had Streisand in a leather deco aviator cap and outfit, all zigzag black and white leather, like a Flash Gordon style outfit. We have seen the pix so where is the footage. Not even the trailer is on this new 2006 DVD. Bad Paramount! Do it again....... as I originally said... If one bothers to think about it, one can see how this $$$$ musical came about. It has the same formula and some of the same creative talent as My Fair Lady, and deals with psychedelic pop art of 1968..and the sheer magnetic talent of Streisand of the time.....however......I would like to know what it cost and what the rentals were. Anyone? Often enjoyed in Australia in the early 1970s as a double feature in re run houses and sessions with other musicals like DARLING LILI, the astonishingly neglected charming HALF A SIXPENCE or THROROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE or later THE STAR SPANGLED GIRL...this is a staid musical with massive breakout sequences. In cinema-scope it is sensational and Babs is her yakkety self that was fun for a while. Poor Yves is all wrong, and like GIGI it definitely should have been Louis Jordan in the role or...Robert Goulet.....then we would still be watching it like an Austin Powers musical. All very expensive and gorgeous and with clearly deleted musical numbers and futuristic scenes never ever seen, this should be a DVD sensation but Paramount didn't get around to it. In the mean time, maddeningly beautiful.............like the leading lady, perhaps. Whoever said the Barbara Harris CD soundtrack from the stage show is better, is absolutely right. I have that version and it is truly superb, and interestingly better. But Paramount would not have made this film with her,then. Barbara Harris, like Madeline Kahn, Bernadette Peters or Carol Kane are the level of talent Broadway understands and filmdom does not.
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Why Don't They Ever Learn!
Donato Lindi18 August 2002
Just listen to the Broadway cast album and to the voices of Barbara Harris and John Cullum, who do wonders for the wonderful Lerner and Lane score. Then, with that beautiful cast recording fresh in mind, watch the movie, with Streisand as Streisand, and Yves Montand reading his lines with such a heavy French accent that a chain saw couldn't cut through it. The best part (for those who need something to look forward to) is what Montand does to the introductory part of the title song. Listen as he sings/says: Could anyone among us have an inkling or a clue, what magic feats of wizardry and voodoo you can do? (That one part sums up the problem that results from casting "name stars" in movie musicals instead of the appropriate talent for the various roles.) I can just see Rex Harrison entering that scene and suggesting Montand, too, could learn to do justice to the beauty of the English language.
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"That The Glow Of Your Being Outshines Every Star"
bkoganbing19 March 2009
Although you would never know it by the scope of the cinematography with its breathtaking shots of New York, topped by Yves Montand singing on top of the World Trade Center, the film version of On A Clear Day You Can See Forever is actually quite an edited version of what was on stage. Having been one of those fortunate enough to see one of the 280 performances during its run in 1965-1966, I can tell you this for a fact. Quite a bit of the Regency England flashbacks is cut out and even some of the modern era numbers.

Still On A Clear Day You Can See Forever retains both the title song and Come Back To Me which are the two numbers that have lingered on. Robert Goulet had a big hit record of the latter song, elbowing its way into the charts dominated by the British Rock invasion. The original show starred Barbara Harris and John Cullom and had such worthy folks as Hamilton Camp, William Daniels and Titos Vandis in the cast.

As my father's profession was psychology this show was a must item to see in our house. With the powerhouse name of Barbra Streisand now in the lead playing Daisy Gamble, Streisand seeks out noted psychologist Yves Montand to cure her of an incredible five pack a day smoking habit with hypnosis. But under hypnosis Streisand proves to be a remarkable subject, revealing a past life as an Englishwoman of means who didn't always have those means and was quite the the figure during the Regency. She was also hanged as a traitor when her psychic ability to predict disasters at sea made authorities think she was collaborating with the French.

Montand's pretty excited about his subject, giving her quite a buildup with colleagues like Simon Oakland and Bob Newhart. In the meantime Montand is falling for some aspect of Streisand, but is it who she is or who she was? As for Streisand she's engaged, kind of, to Larry Blyden who is chasing the everyman suburban dream in America. Blyden's got an interesting character, it's a combination of his own creation Sammy Glick from What Makes Sammy Run and the worst aspects of some of Jack Lemmon's everyman characters from several films. William Daniels played his part on stage.

Jack Nicholson plays Streisand's former step brother and I'm surprised because even then Nicholson was a rising star, that he would do such a small part. His scenes are mostly with Streisand, but he's got one devastating scene with Blyden in which in his own droll way, he punctures a lot of his pretensions.

This was the next to last film directed by Vincente Minnelli who did a few good musicals in his time and this certainly belongs among them. Though I would have liked to have heard more of the Burton Lane-Alan Jay Lerner score, what was left was sung well indeed by Streisand and Montand.

In an age when musical budgets were catastrophic because of the studio system breakdown, all the good ones, in fact just about every one seemed to star the only bankable singers around, Barbra Streisand and Julie Andrews. I'm glad this one got preserved.
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On a clear day.... on a cleeeeeeeear daaaaay!
funkyfry16 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In some ways I felt like I enjoyed this movie in spite of myself, or itself. Equally drawn to the film by my admiration of the director Vincente Minnelli and repulsed by its leading lady Barbara Streisand, I find that in the end neither artist contributed his/her best or worst work, and that the whole package itself is mostly lacking in the necessary charm. Yves Montand presents far more problems than Miss Streisand, and Minnelli trips over his own staging to try to make the modern sequences all too modern and the historical sequences all too romantic.

Streisand plays Daisy Gamble (a name only a musical comedy doyenne could possibly be saddled with), a young would-be wife who comes to a college psychologist (Montand) in hopes that he can use hypnotism to cure her excessive smoking habit. Instead, the good professor uncovers a whole past life involving a seductress called Melinda, a persona whom the professor promptly and unconvincingly falls in love with.

At first it seems refreshing to have Minnelli directing this movie, with his gloriously excessive bouquets conjured up to bring some portion of artificial magic to Daisy's wistful rooftop escape. His style quickly becomes overbearing, especially since he seems to have little taste or comfort with the modern settings and styles he's using. His use of the zoom lens, the only time I can remember him using it, is garish and obvious. An ascending helicopter shot of Montand warbling atop the Pan Am building only manages to distance us from any possible emotion that could be squeezed from his continental charmer. Only in the historical sequences with their incredibly elaborate costuming and real location shots of the Brighton pavilion, does Minnelli momentarily come alive, to live again in the romantic past for one more brief moment.

Montand is the glaring problem with the film. His character is completely unappealing and the way he plays him makes it much worse. The more we see of him, the less we appreciate him or can understand why Gamble is becoming infatuated with him. Likewise it's hard to see why Montand is becoming fascinated with the past life Streisand. His whole scheme is very underhanded, since he hasn't told Gamble that he's been recording all her sessions or that he's investigating a past life at all. His motives are supposed to be cleared up thanks to a series of distracting conferences with a professorial colleague oddly played by tough-guy character actor Simon Oakland.

When the "good professor" becomes desperate to get Gamble back on his couch and begins sending her psychic messages to "Come Back to Me", the result is less romantic than stalking. Psychic stalking -- it's something that belongs more in a Phillip Dick nightmare sci-fi story than a musical comedy. It's hard to not get a really bad taste in your mouth, especially since the film-makers have already provided a suitably obvious and suitably compatible well, uh, suitor in the person of Daisy's ex-brother-in-law played by Jack Nicholson. We first see Jacko on the roof brazenly strumming his sitar, as if he walked out of the J.C. Penney catalog of hippies. Made-to-order hippy Jack Nicholson apparently got a solo but it was cut when a decision was made not to roadshow this film. Thus even the film's relatively satisfying conclusion seems to be drawn in abstract lines, thanks to Minnelli's liberal style of shooting and the subsequent edits that cripple the film's continuity.

As for Miss Streisand herself, she does her best to play the character in a rather sophisticated way but is often undone by her own energy. I didn't feel that she carried off the multiple characters particularly well, and in her solo numbers she heaves and bellows through without any hint of real human vulnerability. She has some good moments as Daisy, but in the Melinda personality she's outclassed by her own headgear.

The film itself doesn't really ever rise to the level of its ambition. What should be a fun evening of musical comedy becomes a mere distraction. The story and its characters never really become anything human or convincing. A stifling aura of artfulness prevents the film from taking off -- it's as if all the performers and the director are standing a few feet away from the film they're making. Montand barely seems to know what movie he's in. Lerner and Lane's songs are ponderous and barely memorable. The story itself seems to revisit Lerner's past artistic life, with its Henry Higginsesque professor remonstrating himself and mistreating his naive leading lady in a way that strangely manages to evoke absolutely none of the charm that lifted his Fair Lady above the fray. The film is saved from outright artistic failure thanks to a few imaginative sequences staged by Minnelli, Nicholson's goofy and fun cameo, and a few moments of inspired clowning by Streisand.
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