The life of Fanny Brice, famed comedienne and entertainer of the early 1900s. We see her rise to fame as a Ziegfeld girl, subsequent career, and her personal life, particularly her relationship with Nick Arnstein.
Early twentieth century New York. Fanny Brice knows that she is a talented comedienne and singer. She also knows that she is not the beauty typical of the stage performers of the day, she with skinny legs and a crooked nose among other physical issues. So she knows she has to use whatever other means to get her break in show business, that break so that she can at least display her talents. With the help of Eddie Ryan who would become her friend, Fanny is able to get a part in a novelty act in a vaudeville show, the renown from which eventually comes to the attention of famed impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.. Fanny does become one of the Ziegfeld Follies most popular acts, despite she almost getting fired after her first performance by defying Flo's artistic vision for her closing number. Beyond stage success, Fanny also wants a happy personal life, most specifically with the suave Nicky Arnstein, a gambler in every respect of the word. Fanny loves him and loves that he loves her ...Written by
The film's screenplay bears little resemblance to Fanny Brice's life. For example: Both Brice and Arnstein were already married when they first met. Arnstein's first wife specifically named Brice in her divorce case as the correspondent for alienation of affection. Prior to the marriage between Brice and Arnstein, Arnstein was already a convicted felon who had been incarcerated in Sing Sing for wire-fraud, and Brice had visited him in prison. Furthermore, Brice was never a struggling out-of-work actress but a wealthy young girl who had attained early stardom by age 13. She also was not the first comedic act hired by Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., and Ziegfeld had always insisted upon humorous acts in his shows. See more »
In the opening sequence, in the walk to the theater, the "sunlight" is made by a visible spotlight. See more »
The original theatrical version included an additional overture before the opening credits, an intermission after "Don't Rain On My Parade," and exit music after the end credits. These additional music pieces have been restored for the DVD release. See more »
Barbra Streisand made one the biggest debuts in the history of films playing Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. She also won an Oscar as best actress of 1967 for her efforts. Although this musical bogs down a bit in the second half, Streisand keeps the viewer glued to the screen with her brilliant portrayal of this great star. Terrific musical numbers come one after another, and Streisand shifts gears effortlessly between comic gems like "I'm the Greatest Star" and "The Roller Skate Rag" and signature tunes like "People" and "Don't Rain on My Parade." Her closing rendition of "My Man" is very effective (and was copied by Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues). Big and bright and splashy, Funny Girl is one of the last great, old-style musicals produced in Hollywood. Omar Sharif, Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Kay Medford, Mae Questel, Frank Faylen, and Lee Allen co-star. Meford won a supporting Oscar nomination as the mother. Pidgeon should have been nominated for his role as Flo Ziegfeld. And I think Questel is a scream as the local yenta. But the center of this film is Streisand. Every number is a gem, and she looks great. There may be better musicals, but you'd be hard pressed to name a better performance in a musical than Barbra Streisand playing Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.
Others in the cast include Gertrude Flynn and Penny Santon as the card players, Tommy Rall as the prince in the ballet sequence, Mittie Lawrence as the maid, Gerald Mohr as the gangster, Inga Neilsen and Bettina Brenna as show girls, and Elaine Joyce in the roller skating number.
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