Funny Lady (1975)

HERBERT ROSS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

USA, 1975.  Columbia Pictures, Rastar Pictures.  Story by , Screenplay by , Arnold Schulman.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1975.  Golden Globe Awards 1975.

Is it possible that Fanny Brice’s life was so wonderful that two biopics could be made of her life? Unfortunately not. Whereas Funny Girl, which concentrated on Brice’s rise to fame and problematic marriage to Nick Arnstein, was a fantastic musical filled with comedy and heartbreaking drama, Funny Lady is just a flat soaper. Having divorced Arnstein, Brice’s attentions now turn to show promoter Billy Rose (James Caan, as bad a match for Barbra Streisand as ever there was), and their relatively uneventful relationship plays out against number after number, some of them inspired and some of them really not. The Lady herself is funny, as energetic and charismatic as ever, but Herbert Ross’s direction doesn’t have the shine that William Wyler brought to the original and the overall result isn’t worth it; just another of the quick moneymaking schemes that sequels usually turn out to be.

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