Thursday, October 13, 2011

Movie Review: Funny Girl

I was surprised to learn that there was actually once a real Fanny Brice and that this movie was loosely based on her life. I guess it was inevitable that Barbra Streisand played the lead since both women were Jewish and both were popular singers in their day. A significant story arch in this movie is the turbulent relationship Fanny has with the dashing Nicky Arnstein (played by the Egyptian, Omar Sharif [1]), who she meets as a result of her rising stardom. As it turns out, though, the real Nicky Arnstein was a rascal from the get-go, but they whitewashed him for the film to avoid a lawsuit since he was still alive.[2]

My verdict: The first few musical numbers were rambling and unimpressive. It wasn't until they got around to the real Fanny Brice's numbers that the musical numbers started behaving as such. Some of the helicopter shots are impressive, particularly the shots of Barbara Streisand on a train and later on a boat—impressive because they got close enough to clearly show the lines she was singing.[3] Overall the show doesn't have a lot of coherence. The first half was pretty solid, but after the interlude the narrative started to drag. The choice of where the movie ends didn't make much sense to me.


[1] Having a Jew and an Arab as romantic leads together caused a bit of a stir. See Girl (film)#Production.

[2] See Arnstein.

[2] The film was nominated for Oscars in film editing and sound editing, but didn't win in either category, but perhaps it should've (I can't say for sure since it's been a while since I watched Bullitt, the 1968 winner for Best Film Editing and I haven't seen Oliver!, the 1968 winner for Best Sound).

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