Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1968. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Rastar Productions.Screenplay by Isobel Lennart, based on her play. Cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr.. Produced by Ray Stark. Music by Jule Styne. Production Design by Gene Callahan. Costume Design by Irene Sharaff. Film Editing by William Sands, Maury Winetrobe. Academy Awards 1968. Golden Globe Awards 1968.
The life of Fanny Brice made its way to the big screen after first appearing as a hugely successful Broadway musical produced by her son-in-law Ray Stark. The play made a stage star of recording artist Barbra Streisand, and then the marvelous film version made a deserved movie star out of her immediately afterwards. She plays Brice from her early awkward days as a singer in a local New York theatre through to her success in the Ziegfeld Follies and her troubled marriage to professional gambler Nick Arnstein (Omar Sharif). The screenplay is uneven and awkward, uncomfortably balancing all the comic and tragic aspects of Brice’s life, but Streisand’s performance has such energy and humanity in it that all the rough spots are travelled over with exceptional ease. Sharif’s performance is wooden to say the very least, but again Streisand is such a fireball next to him that it’s very unlikely you’ll notice anything amiss. The marvelous Jule Styne-Bob Merrill score includes the popular numbers “Don’t Rain On My Parade”, “People”, and the title song which was written especially for the film version.