Dolly Will Never Go Away Again, even when she turns 50.
Gene Kelly’s 1969 adaptation of the broadway hit “Hello Dolly” is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and it’s time for me dish on it.
At the time of its release, it was neither commercially or critically successful, compared to the original Carol Channing show, but it won 3 Oscars: Best Art Direction, Best Score of a Musical Picture, and Best Sound. I hardly see any problem with this movie adaptation, because it’s quite memorable, delightful, and colorful if you read between the lines.
The year is 1890.
Barbara Streisand stars as matchmaker Dolly Levi, who can do more than just find mates for people. She can teach people to dance, and mend clothing, etc. etc. She even hands out numerous business cards to people in the wonderful number “Just Leave Everything to Me.” Matter of fact, everybody loves her.
She travels to New York City to find the man of her dreams-the wealthy and pigheaded Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau)-who is already prepared to wed hat ship owner Irene Molloy (Marianne McAndrew). Dolly intends to go find him anyway, and inspires other characters to go to the the Big City for their own pleasures as well.
The others dreamers include Horace’s niece (Joyce Ames) and her would-be intended (Tommy Tune), both of whom want a better blessing than the one they just received from him; and his two clerks (Michael Crawford and Danny Lockin), who both would like a night on the town by pretending to be rich. Dolly uses her chatterbox dialogue and lyrics wisely to send them all there.
Meanwhile, Irene is not interested in Horace, and she and her assistant (E.J. Peaker) take fancy with the two so-called rich clerks. So, the boys have to prevent the women from giving them the expenses.
“Hello Dolly” have a few flaws in various places, but it should be given another chance in life. It offers colorful characters, brought to life here by wonderful actors. Streisand is jolly, Matthau is charming, Crawford and Lockin are both goofy fun, McAndrew is delicious, and Peaker is cute. And I just love, love, love those Louis Armstrong cameos. “What a Wonderful World.”
The costumes are beautifully designed by Irene Sharaff (“Cleopatra,” “An American in Paris”), who captures the period time with the hats, dresses, and fashion. And the characters are given professional fashion sense.
Leave it to Kelly to lead the actors on the right dance path with his direction and Micael Kidd’s choreography. Even the waiters have a sense of rhythm in them. When you watch classic musicals like Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain” or “An American in Paris,” you see people dancing all gay and giddy. They were truly musicals, and not commercial values, if if this one was not a profitable back then.
The best numbers in particular are “Just Leave Everything to Me,” “It Takes a Woman,” “Put On Your Sunday Clothes,” “Dancing,” “Elegance,” “It Only Takes a Moment,” “So Long, Dearie,” and of course, “Hello Dolly.” A better way to put it, all the musical numbers are choreographed with style, comedy, and love.
“Hello Dolly” deserves more credit than it’s been given.
At Select Locations on Sunday August 11 and Wednesday August 14
So put on your Sunday clothes.