Friday, February 6, 2009
Hello, Dolly!. Feature film. (1969, 146 mins) IMDB
ello, Dolly! has to be one of the last monster musicals made in Hollywood. I don't know what the budget was, but bigger than large is probably a good starting point. The cast is enormous and since it's a period piece, the costumes were many and varied and expensive. Then the sets. Some on location, with construction to fit the times, but in addition massive sound stage sets and backlot sets. It's miracle this film was made at all and it looks good, no great, but that's probably the best you can say about this film.
Walter Mathau fits the bill as a cranky bachelor, but he can't sing or dance and, guess what, it's sort of important in a musical.
Of course Streisand can sing, we all know that, but there aren't many songs worth the effort. There really is only one memorable song in the movie, the title song and it's not associated with Streisand. That would be Louis Armstrong. They bring him in but only give him only a minute of screen time. That makes no sense.
Michael Crawford can do it all, but his voice didn't sound right in this film.
And I'm sorry, but Tommy Tune looked lanky and out of place. He looked like sticks moving. Long, long sticks.
A Hollywood musical is a love story where the plot takes us from one action sequence (i.e., song and dance) to the next. It ends with the biggest production piece that blows the top off. The biggest set-piece occurs in a restaurant before Act III. The ending seemed week and low-budget compared to what transpired before. I know they didn't shot it in sequence, but it was almost as if they ran out money when it came time to shot Act III.
There is a love story narrative to this film. Dolly is Mrs. Levi, a matchmaker and widow. She's trying to set up Mathau, a wealthy businessman with some wealthy woman, but it hasn't worked out too well. Mahtau has a niece who wants to marry Ambrose, the local artist. The uncle thinks he's a fool and bum and not worthy of his niece, but she's in love.
Mathau has two clerks working in his store. Cornelius and Barnaby. Both are young, naive etc. They take a trip to NYC from Yonkers just to kiss a girl for the first times in their lives.
Need I say they all end up marching into a church for a wedding? I didn't think so.
Posted 2009/02/06 at 10h39ET in Movie Commentary.