Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
Promotion: Destiny Awaits
Win a limited edition PS4 and a copy of Destiny
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Barbra Streisand
Omar Sharif
Walter Pidgeon.
Directors
William Wyler.
Screenwriters
Isobel Lennart.
Running Time
155 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Into The Storm
2 Star Empire Rating
Guvnors, The
2 Star Empire Rating
Police Officer's Wife, The
2 Star Empire Rating
Charulata
4 Star Empire Rating
Art Party
1 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Funny Girl
Streisand's film debut tells the story of comedienne Fanny Brice's rise to stardom


submit to reddit


Plot
Comedienne Fanny Brice's rise to stardom, via her tempestuous relationship with gamester Nick Arnstein.


Review

Fanny Brice should have been the Talkies' first female star. However, she didn't conform to Hollywood standards of beauty and she's best known now through this musical biopic, which earned the debuting Barbra Streisand an Oscar (in a Best Actress tie with Katharine Hepburn for The Lion in Winter).
    In many ways, Streisand's rise to the top mirrored that of Brice, whom she had played in the original stage version of Isobel Lennart's play. But, she was much more fortunate in her transition to films, as director William Wyler had guided 40 stars to Oscar-winning performances from 125 nominations. Moreover, cinematographer Harry Stradling was sufficiently skilled to find the photogenicity in her famous facial features, while costumer Irene Sharaff, choreographer Herbert Ross and co-stars Kay Medford (as mother Rose Brice) and Lee Allen (as mentor Eddie Ryan) were reprising their Broadway roles.
    Streisand was even lucky in the fact that she fell in love with her leading man, Omar Sharif, and their romance certainly enhanced their on-screen chemistry. However, he was anything but first choice to play gambler Nicky Arnstein, with Frank Sinatra, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Marlon Brando and Gregory Peck all passing before Columbia hired the then-hot Egyptian star of Doctor Zhivago (1965).
    The Cairo press were less than enamoured by the casting, however, and castigated Sharif for sharing the screen with a Jew around the time of the Six Day War. But, despite all the negative publicity, the film became one of the top 10 box-office hits of the 1960s. Streisand proved to be equally adept at comedy and drama, but she best captured Brice's gauche charm while singing Ziegfeld tunes like `My Man' and `Second Hand Rose' or such Jule Styne-Bob Merrill originals as `Don't Rain on My Parade' and `People'.

     In 1975, Streisand starred in the sequel, Funny Lady, with James Caan as second husband, impresario Billy Rose. However, it felt very much like an afterthought.


Verdict
One of those films where it doesn't really matter what gets written here - you will have made your mind up about Babs one way or the other, but for the rare uninitiated, this is a fine introduction to her talents.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Gamescom 2014: The 10 Most Exciting Games
Zombies! Guns! Tombs! Sheep!

Who Is Mack Bolan? Your Guide To Cinema's New Action Man
As Bradley Cooper lines up to star as the hero, here's your handy guide to his story so far

Classic Feature: Empire Meets Uwe Boll
'I'm probably the most hated director in the world right now.'

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

The 100 Greatest Games Of All Time
You voted, we counted, and here they are: beat-'em-ups, shoot-'em-ups, RPGs, JRPGs, MMORPGs, RTSs, first-person shooters, platformers, sims and much more!

The Empire Podcast #124: Wesley Snipes And Terry Crews Talk Expendables 3
Plus the Empire team discuss the biggest movie news and reviews

Lists Of Our Lifetime: Empire's 25 Greatest Battles
From smalltime scraps to epic struggles, these are the conflicts that have stunned cinema since 1989

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)