Film adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical. Concerns itself with Dolly Levi, a New York-based matchmaker who merrily arranges things... like furniture and daffodils and lives. A widow, she has found herself in love with a "half-a-millionaire" Yonkers merchant named Horace Vandergelder. So she proceeds to weave a web of romantic complications involving him, his two clerks, a pretty milliner and her assistant. Eventually, of course, all is sorted out, and everyone ends up with the right person.
Barbra Streisand ... Dolly Levi
Walter Matthau ... Horace Vandergelder
Michael Crawford ... Cornelius Hackl
Marianne McAndrew ... Irene Molloy
Danny Lockin ... Barnaby Tucker
E.J. Peaker ... Minnie Fay
Joyce Ames ... Ermengarde Vandergelder
Tommy Tune ... Ambrose Kemper
Judy Knaiz ... Gussie Granger / Ernestina Simple
David Hurst ... Rudolph Reisenweber
Fritz Feld ... Fritz, German waiter
Richard Collier ... Joe, Vandergelder's barber
J. Pat O'Malley ... Policeman in Park
Louis Armstrong ... Louis, Orchestra Leader
XVid / AC3
This generation (I'm ashamed to say MY generation) just doesn't seem to appreciate a good musical, much less one that came out when our parents were young-ens, heaven forbid! It will be a sad day when these classic films are forgotten, but fortunately, they are all being remastered and re-released on DVD for this generation to enjoy if only they would give them a chance.
I bought the special edition of 'Hello, Dolly' because I adore musicals, especially those from the 50s and 60s when Hollywood really knew how to do it right! The top 3 billings were all people I had heard off... Streisand may not be the easiest person to love, but her voice is astounding... Who could forget Walter Matthau in 'Dennis the Menace', a film slightly more known to my age group... and last but certainly not least, Michael Crawford, a voice I had been listening to since age 3. I grew up listening to his solo albums as well as the original cast recording of 'Phantom.' I will say, he was my main incentive for seeing this film.
'Dolly' is musically and visually stunning. All the principle cast members sing on their own, always a bonus, and the songs are accompanied by some of the most entertaining and memorable dance numbers next to 'A Chorus Line.' One could expect no less since this film is directed by the infamous Gene Kelly. Need I say more? 'Hello Dolly' is by far my favorite of the classics, and believe me, I've seen them all. Sure, you can complain that Barbra was too young to play Miss Dolly Levi, but the woman has talent, you can't deny it no-matter how you feel towards her as a human being. She can sing and she can act, why settle for for someone who fails to meet the former and resort to dubbing? That's the one flaw in 'My Fair Lady.' Matthau is astounding as always, and I have already stated how much I love Crawford. He is just so positively adorable in the role of Cornelius Hackl! Understanably, his gorgeous tenor isn't nearly as developed at age 27 as it was at age 44 when 'Phantom' opened in London, but it's pleasant none-the-less, and his acting is superb as always, flawlessly hiding his lovely accent behind the mousy but sweet demeanor of a Yonkers store clerk.
I love 'Hello, Dolly!' and I would recommend it to anyone who loves the classics. It's funny, uplifting, and heartwarming... what more could a person want in a movie? Don't miss this movie, you're never too young to enjoy the classics.
* Barbra Streisand's gold-beaded gown shown in the Harmonia Gardens set weighed 40 pounds and cost $8000. Twice during rehearsal 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.
* Michael Kidd (choreographer) broke his leg during rehearsal while showing a routine to dancers.
* Louis Armstrong was only on set for a half-day and did his shots in one take.
* The Harmonia Gardens sequence (where the song "Hello Dolly" is performed) took an entire month to shoot.
* The set for the Harmonia Gardens filled an entire sound stage at Fox Studios and occupied three levels: a dance floor, a main section that surrounded the dance floor and an upper mezzanine. The Harmonia Gardens sequence took an entire month to shoot.
* Walter Matthau disliked Barbra Streisand intensely and refused to be around her except where required to do so by the script.
* On a break from filming, Walter Matthau and Michael Crawford visited horse races nearby and saw a horse named Hello Dolly. Matthau refused to place a bet on it because it reminded him of Barbra Streisand, whom he detested. Crawford placed a bet on the horse. It won the race and Matthau would not speak to Crawford for the rest of the shoot unless absolutely necessary.
* In the parade scene, the YWCA marching unit was the award-winning California High School Drill Team, under the direction of Ms. Jackie McCauley. The group was selected by Twentieth Century Fox based on their performance in the Hollywood Santa Claus Lane Parade on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving Day, 1967. The marching band in white uniforms was the UCLA Marching Band. The band in red and black uniforms was the San Fernando Valley Youth Band.
* The scenes set in turn-of-the-last-century Yonkers, New York, were actually filmed a few miles up the Hudson River, at the Trophy Point monument and overlook of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. A village was specifically built there for filming, and the public was allowed to visit the set on days when it was not being used.
* Among those who originally tested for the role of Gussie Grainger/Ernestina Simple were Jo Anne Worley and Peg Murray. Among those who tested for Ambrose Kemper was Ron Rifkin.
* Ann-Margret made a screen test for the role of Irene Molloy.
* Pat Finley and Sandy Duncan made a screen test for the role of Minnie.
* The train shown in the final shot is from the Strasburg Rail Road, an active steam museum short line still in existence today. The "Hello Dolly" car is open to the public.
* The film grew out of a massive attempt by Twentieth Century-Fox to duplicate its earlier, unprecedented success with The Sound of Music (1965) by producing three expensive, large-scale musicals over a period of three years, Doctor Dolittle (1967) and Star! (1968) being the others. Unfortunately, film attendance as a whole was down and all three films' box-office performance reflected this. All were released amid massive pre-release publicity and all lost equally massive amounts of money for the studio (though "Dolly" was in the box office top 5 for the year of its release). The result was that several top studio executives lost their jobs, and the studio itself went into such dire financial straits that it only produced one picture for the entire calendar year of 1970. In truth, Fox would never recoup its losses until a highly successful theatrical reissue of "The Sound of Music" in early 1973.
* Also considered for the role of Dolly was Elizabeth Taylor, who was passed on because she couldn't sing. Carol Channing was never considered for the role because it was felt, despite her Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), that she was both not attractive enough, physically, and too quirky to carry a film.
* The fifth-highest grossing film of 1969.
* In the Harmonia Gardens, the back wall behind the hat check girl, is the wall from the ballroom of the Von Trapps Villa in The Sound of Music (1965).