Guest Author - Caitlin D Neely
Funny Girl (directed by William Wyler) is a hilarious, wonderful musical lightly based on the life of comedienne and actress Fanny Brice. The film version is based on the stage musical that premiered on Broadway in 1964.
Fanny Brice (Barbra Streisand) is a Jewish girl from New York City who simply wants to make it as a star. Eventually she makes it all the way to the Ziegfeld Follies and stars in some of Florenz Ziegfeld‘s (Walter Pidgeon) productions.
She soon falls in love with a worldly gambler (who she's met before), Nick Arnstein (Omar Sharif), and leaves theatre behind to marry him. The rest of the musical follows their rocky marriage and Brice’s reemergence into theatre and comedy.
Streisand shines in this movie. In my opinion this is Streisand at her comedic best. Her acting is natural and she delivers her lines perfectly. Her facial expressions are enough to make me laugh. She is a gem. Her character Fannie Brice believes all she has going for her is her humor but Streisand shows us that Brice is so much more than that. She is funny, caring, beautiful and resilient. She will stop at nothing to get what she wants in life.
Every scene in this movie that was meant to be funny is. The “His Loves Makes Me Beautiful” is brilliant and leaves me wondering if they truly could have gotten away with that musical number in the early 1900s. Streisand’s character refuses to sing about how beautiful she is and, in protest, shoves a pillow up her dress and pretends to be pregnant in the number.
The “Roller Skate Rag” is also hilarious. It’s humorous seeing Brice trying to roller skate and knocking the other skaters down in the process.
The songs and musical score are amazing. The more serious “People” fits perfectly with the rest of the movie. It is one of Streisand’s best performances in the film. Also, no one can forget “Don’t Rain On My Parade”. It’s a signature Barbra Streisand song for a reason. She belts it out with enormous emotion and proves to us that no one could ever sing it as well as her.
The supporting cast that consists of Sharif, Brice’s mother (Kay Medford), Pidgeon and Georgia James (Anne Francis) complete the movie. Streisand is certainly the break out star in the film but it wouldn’t be the same without the rest of the cast; especially Shariff.
After I saw Funny Girl for the first time I listened to the entire soundtrack and found myself singing along to every song. It’s my favorite musical and, like Paper Moon, I highly recommend it.