Another great musical score for the legendary voice of Barbara Streisand, Hello Dolly, adapted from the play The Matchmaker, focuses on the life of Dolly Levi matchmaker extra ordinaire. Quite a stretch for Streisand's immeasurable talents, only 26 at the time if filming, she portrays a much older and wiser woman, coupled with Walter Matthau (wouldn't have been my choice but then they never asked me).
Loosely set in New York and Yonkers, Levi is accomplished is all her goals but alone herself. She sets her sights on Horace Vandergelder (Matthau), local merchant. Ever the persistent and devious woman, you know Horace does not stand a chance, though he puts up a good fight.
There are many memorable musical productions in the movie, perhaps more than even in Funny Lady, and certainly in large detail. The scene of the Sunday in the park and the score of Before the Parade Passes By' is overwhelming. Extras must be in the hundreds for this scene alone. Of course, the most memorable and notable one is her entrance into the Winter Garden with her breath taking performance with Louis Armstrong - the title song - Hello Dolly'.
This dance scene and Mr. Armstrong's rendition of the song are legendry. The dress Ms. Streisand wore for this production weighed 75 lbs. Compared to her 125 lbs at the time, this must have been very tiring. Indeed, she said after removing the dress at the end of the number, many of the beads and sequins were embedded in her skin.
Often touted for her desire for perfection, it was obvious in this production she played a heavy hand. Of course, the entire performance was rewritten for her musical talent and style and many great songs came from this viewing - Just Leave Everything to Me', It Only Takes A Moment', "Put on Your Sunday Clothes' and of course Before the Parade Passes By'.
Oddly, a relative unknown showed up in this movie in a quirky part, Michael Crawford, who as you know went on to become the wonderful Phantom of the Opera'. It is somewhat comical to see Mr. Crawford in this role, all 100 lbs of him with 8' legs and a squeaky voice and to see him now.
As with most Streisand shows, this one was nominated, and awarded, several Academy Awards. Try as they might, Hollywood will not take this woman down! Even as a child then and a woman now, she will always remain victorious!
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
Live your life with the goal to 'pay it forward' and do one good thing for someone else
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
In early-20th-century Yonkers, a wealthy local merchant, Horace Vandergelder (played by Walter Matthau), hires matchmaker Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand) to find a mate for him--but instead she decides to win him over for herself. His life is further complicated by his young niece, Ermengarde, who is determined to wed an artist Horace finds entirely unsuitable, and by his two hapless employees, who against Horace's wishes leave work to venture into New York so each can kiss a girl. Miserly, curmudgeonly, irascible Horace finds that matters have gotten completely out of his control--and the only person who seems to know exactly what is going on is the widowed Dolly Levi. The film is based on a succession of source material, beginning with the 1835 British play A DAY WELL SPENT by John Oxenford, Thornton Wilder's 1938 play THE MERCHANT OF YONKERS, and Wilder's successful 1954 adaptation of his own play, renamed THE MATCHMAKER, rewritten for Ruth Gordon and then made into a film by the same name in 1958 starr...