Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Dolly

Interesting to see HELLO DOLLY again .... back in 1969 when in my twenties this seemed an elephantine old-fashioned film in that era of trendy counterculture, but we went along to see it all the same, and even had the soundtrack album. We were still on a Streisand high and she certainly delivers here, though of course is far too young for the middle-aged Dolly  Levi, a role ideally suited to Shirley Booth in the film THE MATCHMAKER (Mary Martin, Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey had successes as Dolly too). But hey it was a hit show, and 20th Century Fox certainly made it high wide and handsome. Gene Kelly directs (but not so that you would notice), it does though have some nice moments.
I like the opening number "Just Leave Everything To Me" as Dolly sets off for Yonkers to see her latest client, that well-known unmarried half a millionaire Horace Vandergelder. Streisand is perfect here gowned and hatted by Irene Sharaff (who also did the costumes for that other Fox extravaganza CLEOPATRA). Walter Matthau is ideal as the grouch (of course he and Streisand did not get on at all, putting it mildly), and young Michael Crawford and Danny Lockin (later, murdered by a stalker pickup) are fun as the juveniles Cornelius and Barnaby, Tommy Tune scores too. Barbra is a lot of fun actually as she vamps an guys the material.

"Put On Your Sunday Clothes" is a delicious number too, nicely staged and danced (and with a nod to MEET ME IN ST LOUIS) - then there is the huge parade and that finale at the restaurant with the singing waiters and Louis himself to reprise the title number.   On the downside, it looks too brash, the period detail looks trowelled on, the costumes look too new, the two girls at the hat shop - Irene Malloy and her assistant Minnie Fay - are excruciatingly winsome. It is a fun scene though when Horace comes calling, with the boys in hiding and Dolly on hand to get them dancing ..... 
Not a GREAT musical then, but fun to see now and then.  

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