Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.
USA, 1969. Chenault Productions, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Screenplay by Ernest Lehman, based on the stage musical by Michael Stewart, from The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder, adapted from Einen Jux will er Sich Machen by Johann Nestroy. Cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr.. Produced by Ernest Lehman. Music by Lennie Hayton, Lionel Newman. Production Design by John DeCuir. Costume Design by Irene Sharaff. Film Editing by William Reynolds.
Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker gets a garish musical treatment in this overblown film. Barbra Streisand plays Dolly Levi, a rich widow who specializes in setting up the single and the lovelorn. While assisting a wealthy Yonkers store owner (Walter Matthau) in landing the girl of his dreams (Marianne McAndrew), she decides to throw a wrench in the works and go after him herself. Unloading the intended woman won’t be easy, so she convinces Matthau’s store clerks to go to Manhattan and get a look at McAndrew themselves. Streisand is excellent, though her painful miscasting is due to her being much too young for the role (even she thought so at the time). Gene Kelly directed this unfortunate mistake featuring too many terrible musical numbers.
Academy Awards: Best Art Direction; Best Sound; Best Score of a Musical Picture-Original or Adaptation
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Cinematography; Best Costume Design; Best Film Editing
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Barbra Streisand); Best Supporting Actress (Marianne McAndrew); Best Director (Gene Kelly)