Hello, Dolly!

"Weak"

Hello, Dolly! Review


Come back, Carol Channing! All is forgiven! The epic screen version of the charming musical Hello, Dolly! hasn't aged well, but then again, it wasn't so great when it was new, either. An overstuffed extravaganza populated by thousands of extras gallivanting in period costumes, the movie is hamstrung by the miscasting of Miss Barbra Streisand in the lead role. Babs can sing, of course, but the fact that she is 30 years too young to play Dolly Levi derails the entire enterprise. The producers made a seemingly logical choice to cash in on Streisand's immense star power, but all the glorious hats in the world can't disguise the fact that Dolly is supposed to be at least 57, not 27.

We're transported back to turn-of-the-20th-century New York, where widowed matchmaker Dolly Levi is flouncing around meeting people, being charming, and trying to make matches. She journeys up to Yonkers to meet the "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau) and to bring him and a couple of his employees, a hatmaker (there are lots of hats in this movie) and her assistant, back to New York so they can all romantically entangle with each other. Dolly's goal is to wind up with Vandergelder herself, but it won't be easy. Why? Because he's Walther Matthau, and that means he's perpetually cranky and cynical.

Peruse the soundtrack listing, and you'll realize that of the 13 songs in the movie, you only know one well and maybe a second one glancingly. How can such a successful musical be so unmemorable? The title track, which comes late in the movie, is important because it features a cameo by Louis Armstrong, and it's great to see him captured forever in Technicolor in all his glory. He makes Streisand look especially young. The other big number, "Before the Parade Passes By," is Dolly's strident promise to herself to live life to its fullest, and it's staged as a giant parade that is perhaps the last great gasp of the traditional Hollywood musical, taking up a vast swath of the 20th Century Fox backlot. Director Gene Kelly really goes for it. Lots of ladies are lifted up into the air by strapping young men, and their skirts flutter and fly.

Unfortunately, the parade ends, and we're back to lots of Streisand's nervously delivered snappy patter, wondering What Would Carol Channing Do? The movie creaks along to its happy ending, ultimately suffocating under way too many layers of brocade, velvet, and ostrich feathers.

Kick harder, kick higher.



Hello, Dolly!

Facts and Figures

Run time: 146 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 16th December 1969

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: 20th Century Fox

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Dolly Levi, as Horace Vandergelder, as Cornelius Hackl, as Louis Armstrong

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.