Hello, Dolly! (1969)

dolly

Starring: Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau, Michael Crawford, Marianne McAndrew (her film debut), Danny Locklin (in his first and only credited film role), E.J. Peaker (her film debut), Joyce Ames (her film debut), Tommy Tune (his film debut)

Director: Gene Kelly

Summary: A widowed matchmaker sets her sights on a wealthy man looking for a rich, young wife

Other Nominations: Musical Score*, Sound Mixing*, Costume Design, Cinematography, Film Editing

Positives

-The sets, costumes and production in general is impressive, as it should be-it cost $169 million (adjusted) making it the most expensive musical ever to that point. To compare, Chicago, the musical that won Best Picture in 2002, cost $60 million (adjusted).

-Although she sometime annoys me, Streisand is still the best thing about this movie as she brings some energy and is occasionally charming. As for the others, Crawford (aka the original Phantom of the Opera) is terrible, and Matthau phones it in-who thinks Walter Matthau for a musical anyway?.

Negatives

-This movie has everything I don’t like in musicals: flat characters, meh songs that usually go on way too long and almost never advance the characters or story in any way, and super-glossy and empty romance plots. The movie has a feeling of overall hollowness in spite of its visual excellent presentation elements.

Other Stuff

-This movie almost killed 20th Century Fox (again, after Cleopatra almost did it earlier in the decade) along with their other musical bombs-Doctor Dolittle (which I reviewed), Star! and Hello, Dolly! (which actually was #5 at the box office but cost way too much) all lost at least $65 million each (adjusted) in a period of 3 years.

Overall

This is a really substandard musical, and one that was kind of the final nail in the big-budget glossy musical coffin (although Fiddler on the Roof in 1971 made big money, it was a major outlier and nobody else made money with these kind of musicals again), and successful movie musicals afterwards either had to be more realistic (the Bob Fosse musicals) or were from Disney. I do not mourn the loss, especially if it means I don’t have to watch anymore musicals this bad again.

Rating: D+

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