Sunday, April 9, 2017


Production year: 1969

Directed by Gene Kelly - Screenplay by Ernest Lehman - Choreography by Michael Kidd

Starring: Barbra Streisand (Dolly Levi), Walter Matthau (Horace Vandergelder), Michael Crawford, Marianne McAndrew, Danny Lockin, E. J. Peaker, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Tune, Joyce Ames, Fritz Feld, Judy Knaiz, David Hurst

The plot: Dolly Levi is a widow who earns her life as a matchmaker. Her latest client is Horace Vandergelder, a millionaire with whom she pretends to marry. While she tries to conquer his heart, she can’t resist in helping his niece and his two employees with their love life.

Musical Numbers: Just Leave Everything to Me - It Takes a Woman - Put on Your Sunday Clothes - Ribbons Down My Back - Dancing - Before the Parades Passes By - Elegance - Love Is Only Love - Hello, Dolly! - It Only Takes a Moment - So Long Dearie – Finale

Awards: Oscar Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Score for a Musical; American Cinema Editors Best Edited Feature Film

Awards Nominations: Oscar Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Costumes, Best Editing; Golden Globe Best Actress (Barbra Streisand) Best Director, Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy, Best Supporting Actress (Marianne McAndrew), Most Promising Newcomer - Female (Marianne McAndrew); Directors Guild of America Oustanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures; BAFTA Best Actor (Walter Matthau), Best Actress (Barbra Streisand), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography

A Movie Review by Jorge Tomé Santos

July 25th 1975. The day of my 11th Birthday. To celebrate it, my mother took me to the cinema to see a movie musical, already my favorite genre. The title of the movie was HELLO, DOLLY! and of it I only knew Barbra Streisand, Louis Armstrong, Gene Kelly and that funny guy from the television series SOME MOTHERS DO ‘AVE ‘EM, Michael Crawford.

Unfortunately, we arrived late at the cinema and when we entered the opening credits were near the end; by then I didn’t know that I’d missed the first number, “Just Leave Everything to Me”. But I really remembered that, by the end of “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”, I turned to my mother and told her that I wanted to see the movie again. I did it a couple of weeks later and, since then, whenever the movie was screened I was there to see it again and again. When, many years later, the VHS was released, I bought it and then I bought the DVD and I still see it frequently. 

I never understood why so many people hate this movie adaptation, but it seems the main reason is that Streisand took on the role originally played in the theatre by Carol Channing. Yes, at age 26/27, she was far too young to play a fortyish widow, but the truth is she looks much older and her personality matches the one of the character. An almost irritating woman who wants to control everyone in her life and who knows very well what she wants, but who also have a sharp sense of humor and a big heart. Of course there’s no match for her singing voice and in it she truly excels here, bringing down the house with “Before the Parade Passes By”, creating a classic moment with Louis Armstrong, melting our hearts with “Love is Only Love”, inviting us to join the contagious “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”, doing her best Mae West impersonation with “So Long, Dearie”, having fun with “Just Leave Everything to Me” and “Dancing” and giving an unforgettable rendition of the title song.

To this movie detractors, I confess I must agree that Walter Matthau (at 48/49 years old) wasn’t a match for Streisand; his Horace Vandergelder isn’t very funny and it’s hard to believe that a woman like Dolly would fall in love with him. But the rest of the cast seems like they’re having the time of their lives, singing and dancing with joy through the streets of Yonkers and New York. In fact, I always wish I could join the cast and dance the terrific choreography by Michael Kidd. 

To experience this movie on the gigantic screen of an old movie theatre is something out of this world. Director Gene Kelly took full advantage of the big screen, and visually this is a truly musical extravaganza that always has something to be discovered. Personally, I love the magic of the simple opening moments, before Dolly appears. But my favorite number is “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”, also known has the train station dance, even though it has a couple of things I don’t particularly enjoy (the family all in white getting out of their house); but when they are all dancing in the streets and later in the train station, my heart is always with them and I can’t resist its excitement. All the scenes at the Harmonia Gardens are fabulous and I’m never tired of seeing the dancing waiters. And what about the famous moment when Dolly, all dressed in gold, appears at the top of the stairs? Pure magic!!! Yes! I love it all and I always cry with “It Only Takes a Moment”, laugh with “So Long, Dearie”, have a terrific time with “Elegance” and hope that Dolly would teach me how to dance in “Dancing”.

I think it’s time to stop writing about this fabulous movie, I always get carried away when I’m talking about it. But one last word to the unforgettable score by the one and only Jerry Herman; no one writes songs like him and they all have a power to make you feel good. 

This movie always has the power to lift-up my spirit and to fill my heart with pure happiness. It is, and I believe it’ll always be, one of my favorite movies of all time. If you never saw it, give it a chance and let it take you to a place of love, laughter, music and joy! I’m really passionate about this movie!

This movie always has the power to lift-up my spirit and to fill my heart with pure happiness. It is and I believe it’ll always be one of my favorite movies of all time. If you never saw it give it a chance and let it take you to a place of love, laughter, music and joy! I LOVE IT!

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