Who doesn’t love a musical? The old Hollywood types are the best – big gowns and even bigger tunes, usually demonstrating the vocal capabilities of some soon to be superstar. Hello, Dolly! is one such film.
Hello, Dolly! actually reminded me a bit of Jane Austen’s Emma/the classic teen film Clueless, in that it’s about a matchmaker. Barbra Streisand, in only her second feature film, plays the titular Dolly, a widow and professional matchmaker who has set her sights on a cantankerous half-millionaire. The problem is, he intends to propose to a woman in the city who is not entirely suited to him. So Dolly works her magic on a few people and her plan falls magically into place. With a few song and dance numbers in between!
Hollywood musicals date so quicky, and titles such as West Side Story and Hello, Dolly! can be quite painful to watch, but Barbra Streisand is so bloody amazing that any of the films flaws (what happened to feminism?!) can easily be overlooked. Sure, it’s sad to remember a world where women were expected to marry into money, but hey, plenty of women marry for money today. And the film was set in 1890 and released in 1969, so we can forgive it that at least.
One of the great things about old Hollywood is the scripts – they just don’t write ’em like they used to. Fast talking, quick witted, snappy one-liners… It’s hard to beat the back and forth between the likes of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday, but Babs manages this all by herself as Dolly. She’s bloody brilliant!
It’s not my favourite musical, I have to admit. I’ve got a soft spot for Mamma Mia! (such a range of emotions) and Moulin Rouge! is such a feast for the eyes and ears (what is it with all the exclamation marks?!) but I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Every second Barbra Streisand is on screen, and wittering on about reading palms and spreading money like manure, your heart feels that bit lighter and the corners of your mouth turn up that little bit more. If that isn’t the sign of a feel good film, I don’t know what is!