Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Review - Hello Dolly

So I thought it was about time I reviewed my all-time favourite movie ever. Period. That's right: my all-time, never to be surpassed, could probably watch it every day if I was given an extra 145 minutes daily to do so, favourite film.
I am of course referring to the 1969 romantic musical comedy based on the Broadway show of the same name... Hello Dolly.

I love everything about this film. The songs, the dancing, the costumes, the script, the romance. I love it all, and fall in love with it the more I watch it (and trust me, I have seen it more than a few times). 
Interesting fact: Wall-E and I have this in common. Yes, this is the movie that Wall-E watches in the PIXAR film of the same name. 

For those who don't know the storyline, it goes a little bit like this: A matchmaker named Dolly Levi takes a trip to Yonkers, New York, to see the "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire", Horace Vandergelder. While there, she convinces him, his two stock clerks, and his niece and her beau to go to New York City. In New York, she fixes Vandergelder's clerks up with a shopkeeper (whom Vandergelder had been courting) and her shop assistant.

In fact, one New Year's Eve about 10 years ago, when I was 13 or 14, my mum and I were sitting on the couch watching the fireworks on TV (I wasn't very much into NYE parties then, and I'm still not), when I ask my mum: "You want to watch a movie?" "Okay," she agrees. So I put in Hello Dolly, knowing that my mum wouldn't object because she loves this movie almost as much as I do. Fast forward one year, and my mum and I are sitting on the couch watching the New Year's fireworks again. "You want to watch a movie?" I ask. "Okay," she agrees, and as I put the disc for Hello Dolly into the DVD player, I have the biggest sense of deja vu. Yes, that is how much I love this movie - I would happily continue this tradition.

This is the only musical Walter Matthau ever starred in, which is a shame because he is really very good. As Luke said, he is just so rough and grumpy that you kind of love him for it, and I love him in this.

Love the costumes in this movie. Dolly wears some a-mazing outfits. Plus it has a young (very young) Michael Crawford. This is one of my favourite scenes, where Dolly teaches Cornelius Hackle how to dance. There are some great dance sequences throughout the movie, which always have me memsermised. And it's set in a hat shop - perhaps this would explain my love of hats.

Dolly Levi: Hello! Hello there, how are you? Oh hello!
Horace: You know too many people.
  Dolly Levi: Total strangers!
Horace: Then why do you greet them?
Dolly Levi: It makes me feel good to have so many friends.
Horace: Oh, say hello for me too then.
Dolly Levi: I already did.

Interesting fact: The orginal design of Barbra Streisand's gold-beaded gown shown in the Harmonia Gardens scene weighed 40 pounds and cost $8,000. (Wow!) Twice during rehearsals, she tripped over its 2.5-foot train. Other dancers also tripped over it during rehearsal, so the train was taken off the dress. The train is shown intact when Streisand starts down the stairs, but later it disappears.  

Isn't Barbra Streisand beautiful? I know some people don't like her, but I honestly think she is an awesome actress, a wonderful singer and just all-round fabulous. 

Interesting fact 2: The original Broadway production of "Hello Dolly!" opened at the St. James Theater on January 16, 1964 and ran for 2844 performances, setting a Broadway longevity record. "Hello Dolly!" also won the 1964 Tony Award for the Best Musical and Best Score. The original Broadway production is the seventeenth longest running show ever.

Here is the trailer for your viewing pleasure. By the way, I love how wonderfully exaggerated trailers seemed to be back then - not that they aren't now, but these are some pretty big claims: "From now on, every great movie will have to live up to the standard of Hello Dolly." "The best movie ever made, or ever to be made."

Until next time :)

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