The life of Fanny Brice, famed comedienne and entertainer of the early 1900s. We see her rise to fame as a Ziegfeld girl, subsequent career, and her personal life, particularly her relationship with Nick Arnstein.
The Wingo family is from South Carolina, they growing up in a house on a tidal plain. The oldest offspring, Lucas, largely acted as the protector for his younger twins siblings, Tom and Savannah, in light of their dysfunctional growing up, with their shrimper father, Henry, distant and abusive if/when he did pay them any attention, and their mother, Lila, while not doting on them most concerned about appearances and striving for social standing. Now in middle age, Savannah is a New York based poet, Tom, still living on the South Carolina coast outside of Charleston with his wife Sally and their own three doting daughters, taking a break from his high school teaching/football coaching job, while Lucas has long since died while still standing up for himself and his beliefs. Lila, divorced and now remarried with that wealth and social standing she so long desired, receives news that Savannah is in the hospital following her most recent suicide attempt. Not wanting to face the blame ...Written by
Blythe Danner's "Prince of Tides" portrayal of Sally Wingo is her second film character who originated from a Pat Conroy novel, her first characterization was Lillian Meecham, a decade earlier in the film of "The Great Santini". See more »
Tom's Southern accent appears & disappears as the film progresses. See more »
Laserdisc version contains an alternate end credits sequence with Barbra Streisand's vocal performance of "Places That Belong To You" (which was replaced in the final film by new end title music by James Newton Howard after Streisand felt that to include the song would bring back the Dr. Lowenstein character and destroy the focal point of the story, which would be the Tom Wingo character). Also, alternate versions of the Tom and Susan affair scenes, and the following deleted scenes (presented in a separate supplementary section at the end of the film):
Tom remembering his late brother Luke;
Tom visiting Savannah in the hospital early in the film;
I'm afraid Streisand's overblown ego defeats this film. Taking what is essentially over-ripe Tennessee William's material, this may have had possibilities. But Streisand's character (and especially the director's fawning to her character (no surprise, since she directed it) makes this an ego journey of immense proportions. I don't know how Nolte survived this and how he crafted such a magnificent performance. I don't know how he managed to mutter the film's last lines ("Lowenstein, Lowenstein.") without breaking into laughter. (My guess...liquor and multiple takes.) Streisand as a performer needed someone to fetter her (she can give good performances when restrained.) Streisand the director needed to keep from falling in love with Lowenstein. (She did very well with the opening...except the titles and cast lists interfered with the story.) At the end, the only impression left is an unsubtle argument for Streisand's greatness. An argument that fails to persuade.
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