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.
Matchmaker Dolly Levi travels to Yonkers to find a partner for "half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder, convincing his niece, his niece's intended, and his two clerks to travel to New York City along the way.
The Runeberg family is an ordinary middle class family, with a house in a suburb, a car and three children. By vacationing in a rented house by the sea, the hope is that the tension and ... See full summary »
The frothy experiences of a vain little flapper. Her father induces an actor friend to become a gentlemanly cave man and the film becomes another variation of the 'Taming of the Shrew' ... See full summary »
Robert G. Vignola
Lincoln, who's not yet 18, leads a straight life most of the time: he has a girl friend, goes to dances, jokes with guys. But he also has a secret life, in which he's drawn to dark places ... See full summary »
Young Mary feels like a prisoner in the New York apartments of her step-father John Bussard but everything changes when her heartless guardian dies in an accident. Mary is left a fortune ... See full synopsis »
Early twentieth century New York. Fanny Brice knows that she is a talented comedienne and singer. She also knows that she is not the beauty typical of the stage performers of the day, she with skinny legs and a crooked nose among other physical issues. So she knows she has to use whatever other means to get her break in show business, that break so that she can at least display her talents. With the help of Eddie Ryan who would become her friend, Fanny is able to get a part in a novelty act in a vaudeville show, the renown from which eventually comes to the attention of famed impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.. Fanny does become one of the Ziegfeld Follies most popular acts, despite she almost getting fired after her first performance by defying Flo's artistic vision for her closing number. Beyond stage success, Fanny also wants a happy personal life, most specifically with the suave Nicky Arnstein, a gambler in every respect of the word. Fanny loves him and loves that he loves her ...Written by
Omar Sharif, an Egyptian, was almost replaced when the Six Day War between Egypt and Israel broke out during filming. Despite being pressured to fire Sharif, William Wyler refused to do so. See more »
Contrary to the film's depiction, Nick Arnstein was not a morally upright professional gambler who became ensnared in a single criminal case after marrying Brice. Prior to their marriage, Arnstein was already a convicted felon who had been incarcerated in Sing Sing, and Brice had frequently visited him in prison. See more »
The original theatrical version included an additional overture before the opening credits, an intermission after "Don't Rain On My Parade," and exit music after the end credits. These additional music pieces have been restored for the DVD release. See more »
There are two important things to remember about Funny Girl when writing about it or discussing it. The first is Nicky Arnstein was still alive in 1964 when it debuted on Broadway, he died the following year. The second is that Ray Stark, the producer of Funny Girl on stage and on the screen is the son-in-law of Fanny Brice and Nicky Arnstein. So off the bat you know you're going to get a sanitized version.
Not that what they created was bad, how could it be for giving Barbra Streisand the role that made her a star on both stage and screen. Fanny Brice didn't do too bad out of it either, unlike a lot of her contemporaries she lives on through the artistry and interpretation of an icon in a future age.
But was Fanny's story ever given the literary dry process cleaning. Eliminated was her brief marriage to a first husband. Changed is the fact that she knew exactly who at what Arnstein was before she married him. Arnstein was a big time con artist who had no shame whatsoever in using his famous wife's name as a come on. Fanny herself though was never involved in any of his schemes. Arnstein did in fact take the fall and never squealed on any of the ones behind him who certainly were more than capable of reprisals against him and possibly against Fanny Brice.
Jule Styne and Bob Merrill wrote the original songs for the Broadway score and added one song, Funny Girl, for the film. But still the two standouts are Barbra Streisand's classic People and Don't Rain On My Parade, a couple of standards she's made almost exclusively her own. I don't think anyone else would attempt to sing them.
Added to the film are a couple of contemporary songs that Fanny Brice made famous that Barbra reinterpreted, the classic My Man, a song she sang before Nicky Arnstein went to the joint, but still is identified as her lament for her husband in stir. She also sang Second Hand Rose, a really great comedy song, emphasizing Brice's Jewish heritage. I wish a couple of others had gotten in there. I've got Brice recordings of Cooking Breakfast For The One I Love and I'm An Indian. That last one is especially hysterical, Brice did it one of the Ziegfeld Follies dressed as an indigenous person to this continent with the last line being "I'm a Yiddishe Squaw". It's great to hear and must have been fabulous to see.
Funny Girl got seven nominations which included Best Picture, Best Sound, Best Song, Best Musical Scoring, Best Editing, Best Cinematography and a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Kay Medford, the only other player from Broadway besides Streisand to be in the film. But the only Oscar it got was a shared one when Barbra Streisand tied for Best Actress with Katharine Hepburn. One of the very few times someone got an Oscar for their very first big screen effort.
Of course two things helped Barbra greatly. One was a role she had made her own and the second was direction by William Wyler who has won Best Director three times in his career and directed more players to Academy Awards than any other. Barbra was his last. Oddly enough he wasn't nominated for Best Director.
Those who are interested in seeing Fanny Brice as she really was can see her in The Great Ziegfeld, The Ziegfeld Follies, and Everybody Sing all of which are out on DVD and/or VHS. I think Barbra channeled more of Fanny into Funny Girl than the sequel Funny Lady, but I'll let you the viewer be the judge of that.
You can't go wrong seeing and hearing Barbra Streisand do some of the best material ever written for her in both films.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this