Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2019) on… Hello, Dolly! (1969)

It’s time to “put on your Sunday clothes,” so we can get into the 1969 musical Hello, Dolly! starring Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau and Michael Crawford!

Matchmaker Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand) comes to Yonkers as “half-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau) is getting ready to go to New York City and propose to hatshop owner Irene Molloy (Marianne McAndrew). Horace pays Dolly to keep his niece Ermengarde (Joyce Ames) away from her fiancé Ambrose Kemper (Tommy Tune), although she encourages the two of them behind his back. Horace’s two clerks, Cornelius Hackel (Michael Crawford) and Barnaby Tucker (Danny Lockin) are supposed to mind the store while he is away, but they want to go to New York for a day and have an adventure for once in their life. Overhearing them, Dolly encourages them to go see Irene Molloy and her assistant Minnie Fay (E. J. Peaker), which they gladly agree to do. However, while they are in the shop talking to them, Horace comes in and breaks up with Irene when he realizes somebody else is in the shop ( but doesn’t know who, as both Cornelius and Barnaby were hiding while he was there). After he leaves, Dolly encourages them to spend the day together and go to the Harmonia Gardens restaurant that night. Meanwhile, she convinces Horace to go there as well. During the dance contest at the restaurant, Horace sees Ambrose dancing with Ermengarde, and ends up starting a fight. Seeing Cornelius and Barnaby there as well, he fires them, and goes home licking his wounds with everybody gone.

Obviously, with this movie, most of the fun has to do with the music, written by Jerry Herman. One can’t go wrong with a lot of these tunes, including “It Only Takes A Moment,” “Before The Parade Passes By” and “Elegance.” But I would definitely say I enjoy three (maybe four) of them more than the others. “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” is always fun, and is generally guaranteed to get stuck in my head (but I’m not complaining)! “Dancing” is also enjoyable, with all the fun dancing done throughout the park! But “Hello, Dolly!” is one of the film’s best songs, particularly helped by the presence of Louis Armstrong, who had had a hit with the song a few years earlier! And the “maybe” song would be “The Waiters’ Gallop,” where the music itself might not be that memorable, but watching all the waiters dance as they perform their duties is a lot of fun (even if it is unrealistic watching all the food stay on the trays when they are doing all the flips and spins and whatnot, but I don’t care)!

If you can’t tell, this is a movie that I really enjoy! Sure, maybe Barbra Streisand might have been miscast as Dolly, if only purely because she seemed a bit young for the part, but she takes the role and runs with it! She works well enough for me in what is the ONLY film she did that I could be convinced to watch (and I’ll easily take her in the role instead of Carol Channing, whom I would struggle to live with for the movie’s entire runtime). The movie is fun, and still maintains a lot of the style of some of the older film musicals (helped by the presence of director Gene Kelly, choreographer Michael Kidd and associate producer Roger Edens, all of whom had worked on a number of the classic MGM musicals). This movie is always fun to stick on every now and then, and enjoy getting the music stuck in my head again! A movie I can easily recommend!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Twentieth Century Fox.

Film Length: 2 hours, 28 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Charade (1963) – Walter Matthau

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