Hello, Dolly!

I had a lot of papers to grade, and somehow I got it all done. During my lunch break, I went into the record store and looked around, and I bought a Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition of “Kagemusha.” I went back to review my notes for my evening class and gave a long lecture. I was glad to be done with the day, and I looked over the Blu-ray discs I’d been accumulating over recent months and decided to watch “Hello, Dolly!” It was one of those expensive musicals that didn’t merit its cost, but was rather amusing, largely because of Barbra Streisand and Michael Crawford. I don’t know why the studio sank so much money into the project because the songs weren’t of the big hit type, like the songs from “West Side Story” or “The Sound of Music.” There were some big shots with a lot of extras, which was odd because most of the movie focuses on only a few characters. I couldn’t see the attraction between Dolly and Horace. Walter Matthau is funny, but his singing voice was uninspiring and weak. His dancing looked stiff. Apparently, in real life he hated Barbra Streisand. I liked the brilliant color of the photography, and the images were sharper and clearer than I remember from the DVD edition of some years ago. The movie holds up pretty well after all these years. Barbra Streisand seemed to be on a roll in her movie parts, going from “Funny Girl” to this movie to “What’s Up, Doc?” Her clothes appeared very expensive in “Hello, Dolly!” I wonder what they did with all those costumes. Michael Crawford was good in “How I Won the War,” and he was engaging in this movie, too, although I didn’t see him working in a store. The only other cast member I recognized was Louis Armstrong, who was the orchestra leader. His appearance is too brief. He sings a little bit, and then says, “One more time!” It seemed presumptuous that we would want to hear more. Michael Kidd did the choreography. I got tired of seeing everybody wave their arms around. According to what I read, Kidd did not get along with Gene Kelly. There was an intermission, which I used to take a bathroom break and get some food, although the running time is just 148 minutes. The movie was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, which was go to “Midnight Cowboy.” “Hello, Dolly!” was one of the top five movies at the box office in 1969, but was too expensive to make money. There was some revival of interest in the “Hello, Dolly!” because of its appearance in “WALL-E” in 2008. The special feature on Gene Kelly is interesting, and it touches on the difficulty of the shooting of the film, though it says nothing about the conflicts of personality. Barbra Streisand is described as being curious about the filmmaking process, asking constant questions about lights and camera placement. Gene Kelly asked William Wyler what she was like, and he said that she was wonderful. Kelly discussed his filming of the parade scene, which looked like it used thousands of extras. I wonder if the studio had to feed them. One thing that struck me was how cheap the tables were supposed to be because each of. them broke whenever anyone fell on one. “The Cheyenne Social Club” was one of the last films that Gene Kelly directed. I would remember him in “That’s Entertainment!” and “Xanadu.” I’ll always remember watching “An American in Paris” on the late show and thinking it was something magical. I found it tiring to watch the end of “Hello, Dolly!” I wanted it to wrap up in a quicker way. The studio executives should have realized how improbable it would be to recreate the success of “The Sound of Music.” Stanley Donen worked on “Bedazzled” instead of this movie. I think I would have liked seeing Ann-Margret or Jo Anne Worley in “Hello, Dolly!” I heard that the Astros went into Yankee Stadium and shut them out. That certainly was a quick end of the Yankees’ playoff run. Alex Rodriguez couldn’t take advantage of his big moment to lift the Yankees. The question today is how the Cubs will do against the Pirates. I’m nostalgic about the year 1979, so I like rooting for the Pirates. Also, Dave Parker came to the A’s. I watched Bill Clinton on the Stephen Colbert and thought about how much Clinton has aged over these years. Some of the people who died on October 7 include Edgar Allan Poe (1849), Mario Lanza (1959), Johnny Kidd (1966), and Leo Durocher (1991). Today is a birthday for Simon Cowell (56), Yo-Yo Ma (60), John Mellencamp (64), Joy Behar (73), and Bishop Desmond Tutu (84). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for October 7, Marian Anderson became the first black singer to be signed by New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1954. In 1988, “Punchline,” starring Tom Hanks and Sally Field, was released. In 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California.

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