FUNNY THAT HE SHOULD HAPPEN TO HER!
Shortly before World War I, Fanny Brice (Barbra Streisand) embarks on an unconventional but very successful theater career, emphasizing her talent for comedy and singing; she also falls for a professional gambler (Omar Sharif)… The last major film for William Wyler has the old pro doing for Streisand what he did for Bette Davis and Audrey Hepburn: making them look their very best. This was Streisand’s first film, repeating her Broadway success and creating the screen persona we’ve come to know. A more substantial biography on Brice would have been interesting, but it’s a gorgeous musical with many magnificently enjoyable moments and performances.
1968-U.S. 155 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Ray Stark. Directed by William Wyler. Screenplay, Book: Isobel Lennart. Cinematography: Harry Stradling. Editing: Robert Swink, Maury Winetrobe, William Sands. Music: Walter Scharf. Songs: ”Funny Girl” ”People”, ”Don’t Rain On My Parade” (Jule Styne, Bob Merrill). Cast: Barbra Streisand (Fanny Brice), Omar Sharif (Nick Arnstein), Kay Medford (Rose Brice), Anne Francis, Walter Pidgeon, Lee Allen.
Trivia: Shirley MacLaine was allegedly considered for the lead; Frank Sinatra for Sharif’s role. Followed by Funny Lady (1975).
Oscar: Best Actress (Streisand). Golden Globe: Best Actress (Streisand).
Quote: “Hello, gorgeous.” (Streisand)
Last word: “Barbra is the only reason I directed this film. I could not just think of Fanny Brice and ignore Barbra Streisand. She gave me what I wanted and more. She was very satisfying, very professional and absolutely tireless. I could work this girl round the clock with no complaint. Bette Davis had the same sort of eagerness and desire to get the best and never be satisﬁed with herself, or anyone else for that matter.” (Wyler, The Sunday Times Magazine)