A Few Words About A few words about...™ Funny Girl -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Anyone could have done a version of the first part of LoA - and in fact that's where most films would have ended. It's the second part that brings it to another level of a truly great film which examines the man from all sides and not just telling a typical Hollywood adventure tale.
     
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  2. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    There you go. That says it.
     
  3. AdrianTurner

    AdrianTurner Banned

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    The comparison with Aurens is interesting - the long Part One basically deals with a single military event (the attack on Aqaba) while the shorter Part Two deals with a quivering wreck of a hero and the morass of Middle East politics at the time. Both Bolt and Lean thought it 'rushed.'

    Perhaps more interesting to compare with Funny Girl is Ben-Hur. Now that movie has two perfectly balanced halves in my view, though the first is far longer than the second. Part Two of course has the chariot race while in Funny Girl the chariot race (or Don't Rain on My Parade) closes Part One and leaves nothing in the tank.

    Actually, a final thought here - the problem with these enormous and often clunky 60s musicals was that the studios conceived them as Roman epics with songs.
     
  4. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    saw this tonight. Amazing, amazing transfer :3dglasses:
     
  5. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    I love it. We're comparing the structures of Funny Girl with Lawrence of Arabia and Ben-Hur! To this I must add The Ten Commandments and The Sound of Music just to make even more fun.

    The Ten Commandments has an incredibly strong second act with the Parting of the Red Sea and the writing of the Commandments. Actually, there's another example of two completely separate movies separated by the intermission. Act I is the romantic soap opera with the young warrior prince battling a rival over the hand of the princess consort only to discover he's not a prince at all. Act II is the traditional Biblical Moses, now completely sexless as far as the story is concerned, saving the Israelites. The 220 minute epic doesn't falter because it's really a double feature with separate story climaxes in both.

    If you want to complain that Funny Girl is almost without new songs in the second act, the same is largely true with The Sound of Music and most other R&H musicals. That team loved to stack most of the songs in Act I and spend Act II reprising them all. In the case of TSOM, all you have after the intermission is Climb Ev'ry Mountain (the Act I closer on Broadway) and Something Good. Everything else is a reprise. And yet, it's a strong Act II, and yet another film where Act II (after the wedding anyway) is a completely different movie. The young impetuous Maria is gone and in her place is a motherly, mature woman.

    To give Mr. Wyler his due, he and his editors fully realized that Funny Girl was weakest during the second act's marital discord. That's why all the brutal edits came in this portion of the picture. He's racing through all the soap in order to get to "My Man."
     
  6. Cineman

    Cineman Stunt Coordinator

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    That is a possibility. But my distinct impression was they were pressed to cover certain political/historical events and proceeded to turn it into It a sort of "and then he did this and then he did that and this and that happened" biography. At the same time it didn't seem like they had a clear strategy for depicting and dramatizing the enigma and mystery of him, so they just left it as unfathomable without fathoming it.

    With Funny Girl, I would liked to have seen them try to match or surpass the physical comedy success of the roller skate number and the pregnant bride routine of the first half in the Swan Lake parody (which I always found to be stubbornly unfunny) and in something more with Fannie Brice's famous Baby Snooks character than a fleeting glimpse of Barbra portraying that character as she exits the stage. I don't know if that was where serious cuts were made but it felt like something had been given short shrift right around those sections. By contrast, it didn't seem like any of the stuff regarding Nick's gambling and criminal slide was left on the cutting room floor at all.
     
  7. bryan4999

    bryan4999 Supporting Actor

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    I have always felt that the second act of the stage version of Funny Girl was better written than the movie, and that the first act of the movie was better written than the stage play. In the second half of the movie, I really miss both "Who Are You Now?" and "The Music That Makes Me Dance". I don't necessarily love "Rat-a-tat-tat", but I have to admit I like it better than Swan Lake. A Baby Snooks segment would have worked well in the movie, IMO, and I do love the moment in the film when, dressed as Baby Snooks and beseiged by the press, she gets very serious and says, "The name is Arnstein. Mrs. Arnstein". That would have been a great place for "The Music That Makes Me Dance" and would have still left room for "My Man".
     
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  8. AdrianTurner

    AdrianTurner Banned

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    When she says that I hear a little voice in my ear saying, 'Hello everybody. This is Mrs Norman Maine.'

    Maybe Barbra did, too.
     
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  9. bryan4999

    bryan4999 Supporting Actor

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    I think you're right!!
     
  10. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    You know, there is a precedent for the "Swan Lake" number. I got my hands several years ago on the DVD of Fanny Brice's 1930 film Be Yourself. (This is the film that contains her famous song "Cookin' Breakfast for the One I Love.") In that movie, Fanny plays a stage and nightclub comedienne and at one point she does a routine as a clumsy ballet dancer. I'd almost be willing to bet that the producers were familiar with this movie (Brice's second one after scoring a hit with My Man) and interpolated that idea to give them that new number in place of "Rat-a-Tat-Tat." Does anybody know when she actually did Baby Snooks for the first time on stage? I've seen a picture of her doing it in one of the 1930s editions of Ziegfeld Follies, but the action of Act II is before the stock market crash. Funny Lady takes place during the depression.
     
  11. Cineman

    Cineman Stunt Coordinator

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    I found this in wikipedia:

    The Baby Snooks Show
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_Snooks

    She might not have been doing the most iconic version of Baby Snooks on the Broadway stage in the Follies show until the 1930s but had been doing versions of it elsewhere on stage for decades.
     
  12. Cineman

    Cineman Stunt Coordinator

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    I lament the loss of "The Music That Makes Me Dance" in the movie because it is such a beautiful song and Barbra's singing of it on other recordings lingers in the mind and heart. Seems the decision was made to more-or-less replace it with the new song, "Funny Girl", which I believe does a better job of tee'ing up the "My Man" finale. "Funny Girl", the song, is more wistful and self-reflective than "The Music That Makes Me Dance", which is essentially about him, not her. "My Man" is also essentially about him, which meant those last two big songs would have been more about him and not Fannie.

    Maybe this was covered years ago and I just missed it along the way but isn't Barbra's vocal for "My Man" in the movie lifted precisely from her 1965 recording of it for the album, My Name Is Barbra? I'm talking about when the orchestra swells and she swings into full song, not the talk-singing she does at the beginning. If I'm not mistaken, that is not a new vocal recording of it for the movie but a reprise of the final strains of her recording from three years earlier to which she lip-syncs perfectly, all dramatic guns blazing. If so, I always thought that was interesting considering how meticulous Barbra was about re-recording the other songs in Funny Girl until she got it just right for her first movie, multiple-multiple takes to get the "People" scene and singing just right and all. Did she feel her 1965 rendition of it was un-improvable from a dramatic and musical standpoint? She was probably right.
     
  13. classicmovieguy

    classicmovieguy Producer

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    "The Music That Makes Me Dance" is THE highpoint of the original stage score, in my opinion. It's a crying shame it never wound up in the film, although the "Funny Girl" song has it's own lovely charms.
     
  14. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I, too, have a great fondness for "The Music That Makes Me Dance," but it was used in the place of "My Man" in the stage version, wasn't it. That's my recollection.
     
  15. bryan4999

    bryan4999 Supporting Actor

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    In the stage version, "The Music That Makes Me Dance" is sung after Fanny finds out that Nick has been arrested. The end of the play is different in tone than the movie; after Nick leaves the dressing room, Fanny sings a reprise of "Don't Rain On My Parade".
     
  16. Cineman

    Cineman Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting. I never saw the stage version but knew it was quite different from the movie because the soundtrack is so different.

    I like the way the new song, "Funny Girl", provides an emotional and thematic reply to Barbra's first song in the movie, "I'm The Greatest Star". Her funniness and drive made her the greatest star on Broadway but didn't do her any favors in her love life, which is what the song, "Funny Girl" is about. Then the only thing left is for her to self evaluate and assess whether it was worth it or not, whether the upside for her career made up for the downside to her love life. That is where "My Man" provides the opportunity in spades.

    If that isn't what we see happening in the stage version then I would say the movie version is a notable improvement unless what we get instead is something even more powerful and haunting.
     
  17. classicmovieguy

    classicmovieguy Producer

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    There was an earlier song entitled "Funny Girl", which was attached to the Broadway show (whether it was ever used or only a 'trunk song' I'm not exactly sure) - it's quite different in tone to what was written for the film.
     
  18. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    The Way We Were is another excellent Sony Transfer , region free from Amazon Italy

    [​IMG]
     
  19. verneaux

    verneaux Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the movie looks better than I've ever seen it. That said, I had some problems.

    If this wasn't Streisand's first movie, I would label this a 'vanity' project. It's Barbra, Barbra, and more Barbra to the detriment of all other characters and the film. Anne Francis had the 2nd biggest female role... come on... And Barbra relies on her voice and overall talent... she is sloppy. Watch the snippet from Second Hand Rose. There is no way anybody would think her performance was worthy of being on a summer stock stage... much less featured in the Follies.

    The other problem I had was because unfortunately, I watched the Johnny Depp Dark Shadows shortly before Funny Girl. Her freakishly long fingernails compared rather closely with Depp's as the vampire. After a while it became distracting. When she picked out a few notes of People on the stage piano near the beginning of the film, she used the second joint of her finger...
     
  20. Everett Stallings

    Everett Stallings Supporting Actor

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    My Man was sung live for the film!
     

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