Hello, Dolly! Widescreen Edition
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- 1969 featurette
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After 20th Century-Fox purchased the screen rights to HELLO, DOLLY!, producer/screenwriter Ernest Lehman was fairly certain he'd be asking Carol Channing to recreate her stage performance for the film - that is, until he saw her in the 1967 movie THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE; to put it as delicately as possible, her features didn't translate well to the big screen. Fox executives were equally doubtful about Channing, so the search began for a new Dolly. After flirting with (and subsequently dropping) the idea of Elizabeth Taylor, the leading candidate became Barbra Streisand. The powers-that-be suspected (correctly) she was headed for major film stardom, and they hoped a fresh, younger Dolly would give the multi-million dollar project greater appeal. Lehman immediately revised his script, eliminating all references to Dolly losing her husband fourteen years earlier, and - after concluding that audiences wouldn't accept Streisand as an Irishwoman - changing the character's name from Dolly Gallagher Levi to simply Dolly Levi. The studio made the offer, Streisand signed on the dotted line, and Lehman surrounded her with the creme de la creme of the MGM/Arthur Freed movie musical unit - Gene Kelly (director), Roger Edens (associate producer), Michael Kidd (choreographer), Lennie Hayton (musical scoring), and Irene Sharaff (costumes).
Skeptics, however, dug in their heels, and a period of bad press followed; there was outrage a film novice like Streisand had taken a role they considered her ill-suited for.Read more ›
Now, almost 35 years later, DOLLY can be seen in proper perspective: it's a well-done, old-fashioned movie musical. Its only sin is that is dresses up a flimsy Broadway musical in the form of a big-time movie musical. Let's face it, HELLO DOLLY's book features situation-comedy type scenes of hiding in closets and mistaken identities. It doesn't have the weight of the Nazis (i.e. SOUND OF MUSIC) or the Americana of OKLAHOMA. It is, nevertheless, frothy fun -- with a great, hummable score!
Barbra Streisand is also blamed for accepting the role of Dolly Levi, too. Dolly should be middle-aged; Streisand was 27. Also, Carol Channing was famous for the part (she won a Tony for it) and Streisand is considered to have "stolen" the movie from Channing. (I personally could not fathom watching Carol Channing for 2-1/2 hours.) Streisand was too young. But does it really matter? She's absolutely hilarious in DOLLY, and sings the score wonderfully. It was Streisand's second film, and one of her too few musical films.
The DVD features a wonderful featurette from 1969. The featurette contains great behind-the-scenes footage of filming the "Before the Parade Passes By" scene, as well as the "Sunday Clothes" scene. Gene Kelly, Michael Kidd, and Irene Sharaff are all included.
Fox has restored HELLO DOLLY and this DVD features the restored print. DOLLY has never looked better! From the multi-colored feathers on the back of her hat in the opening scene, to the canary-yellow "Hello Dolly" dress in the Harmonia Gardens, Streisand looks fabulous and colorful and bold.Read more ›
The video quality is another story and a good one. This is flawless, it is like watching a new movie. It is so clear it almost seems like 3d on my Sony front projector. The colors have been restored and I believe the transfer was from 70mm negatives because this is one of the clearest conversions of a classic Fox has done. Extras are several trailers, a featurette, which isn't alot (I was hoping to see the 20 minutes that were cut and maybe a commentary and extras like the SOUND OF MUSIC disc had).
For the price,... this is a steal, to be enjoyed over and over as it is like going to the cinema again.
Michael Crawford and Danny Lockin are hilarious in their roles of Cornelius and Barnaby. Marianne McAndrew and E.J. Peaker as Irene and Minnie Fay are charming and delightful. To top it all off, what a finale! A location of a beautiful white chapel with green lawns stretching out for miles is the setting for the end medley and wedding. Streisand makes her way down the bridal path framed by hundreds of beautifully dressed attendants. The camera pulls back to reveal a scope of magnificence. Perfect.
I certainly can't wait for the widescreen DVD version to be released. If you've never seen it in widescreen you are in for a rare treat. This movie is gorgeous. The musical number, "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" is dream and of course the title tune with Streisand and Louis Armstrong is magnificent.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hello, Dolly was originally written for Ethel Merman who turned it down (six years later she decided to play the part). Read morePublished 8 days ago by Einsatz
This is a great movie, but the disc would not load; although I don't have problems with other blu-ray disc.Published 13 days ago by Paris in Winter
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