My Thoughts: Oh, this is a beautiful movie. It’s one of those that takes you into a different time, a different world. When you watch a movie like this life is simpler, lighter, and filled with song.
Recommendation: You absolutely have to watch this film; you just have too. Miss Dolly Levi won’t allow you not to and once you watch the movie you’ll understand that it is ALWAYS wiser to listen to Miss Levi.
Screenplay/Music: This story is cute and funny, but not groundbreaking in any way. It’s the classic musical story of lonely souls seeking love and adventure. Nonetheless the movie is very amusing and it is wrought with witty repartee. I loved the characters Dolly Levi and Horace Vandergelder and their story is very interesting and just fun to watch. The side plots are a little less impressive. The character of Barnaby and Cornelius are all right; they are the sort of “jesters” of the film and while that is fine, I found them a little dumb and therefore somewhat annoying. The kind of humor that they offered was very basic and not my taste, whereas the humor offered by Dolly and Horace was much cleverer and more enjoyable. Honestly though, movies like this are not about the story. The story merely provides a canvas for the singing and dancing; which in this film is top notch. All and all this movie was very much a “feel-good” film with a classic script and wonderful music.
Acting/Performance: Barbra Streisand (Dolly Levi), who often gets a lot of flak, has undeniable musical and acting ability. Her ability really shines in this film. In the beginning her performance as the chatty Dolly did feel a little awkward, but as the movie progressed she really seemed to grow into the part. In the end I think she gave a stellar performance and she is defiantly the musical talent in the film. Walter Matthau gave a great performance as Horace, making the character complex: both likeable and unlikable. His singing on the other hand wasn’t exactly pretty, it was fine, but could have been better. All and all I would still say he did well. Marianne McAndrew also did well in the role of Irene. Her singing was enjoyable and her acting was decent. Danny Lockin, E.J. Peaker, and Michael Crawford as Barnaby, Minnie and Cornelius all left something to be desired in their performances. Their characters were over the top with squeaky voices and awkward movements. I get that they were supposed to be young, unsure, and naïve, but they were too awkward and naïve. In the end they made the characters annoying. Their singing was also not the best. Since all the music was prerecorded some of the sound was off and the actors facial expressions did not always match their vocal expressions. However, all the actors did well with the dancing. In fact ,I would say that Barbara Streisand was the worst dancer and she still did just fine; no less than Gene Kelly would expect.
Cinematography: The cinematography in this movie was nothing special. It was the classic musical cinematography. Every shot was wide enough for all the dance sequences and everything fit very prettily and neatly on screen. There was no variety of angles, etc. in the shots, no significant mise-en-scene. Everything was very cut and dried, which is fine, just not very interesting.
Soundtrack: Now here is something to rave about! The soundtrack from this film is fantastic. True some of the actors were not the best singers, but the songs were still incredible. Also a shout out to the band who did all the instrumental accompaniment . . . marvelous. There was such a variety many of the songs were very fun and upbeat, something to dance to. Some of the songs were more somber. All of the songs were beautiful. I only wish some of the actors had had more vocal training.
Overall Score: 31/40
“90% of the people in this world are fools and the rest of us are in danger of contamination.”
“There comes a time when you have to decide if you want to be a fool among fools or a fool alone.”
Horace: “You are an impractical 7 foot tall nincompoop.”
Ambrose: “That’s an insult.”
Horace: “All the facts about you are insults.”