Funny Girl (film)

Funny Girl (film)

Infobox Film
name = Funny Girl

image_size = 215px
caption = Original film poster
director = William Wyler
producer = Ray Stark
writer = Isobel Lennart
starring = Barbara Streisand
Omar Sharif
music = Jule Styne "(music)"
Bob Merrill "(lyrics)"
cinematography = Harry Stradling, Jr.
editing = William Sands
Maury Winetrobe
distributor = Columbia Pictures
released = 19 September fy|1968
runtime = Theatrical cut:
151 minutes
Roadshow cut:
155 minutes
country = FilmUS
language = English
budget = $14.1 million
gross = $58.5 million
imdb_id = 0062994

"Funny Girl" is a fy|1968 musical film based on the stage musical of the same name. The semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of Broadway and film star and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nicky Arnstein. Its original title was "My Man". The screen adaptation, directed by William Wyler, paired Barbra Streisand with Omar Sharif in the role of Nick Arnstein, while Kay Medford repeated her stage role, and Walter Pidgeon was cast as Flo Ziegfeld.

The film was a commercial and critical success, gaining Streisand an Academy Award for Best Actress. It became the top grossing film of 1968, and received seven Academy Award nominations.


The plot follows that of the stage musical. It is set in and around New York City just prior to and following World War I. The story opens with "Ziegfeld Follies" star Fanny Brice, awaiting the return of husband Nick Arnstein from prison, and then moves into an extended flashback of their story which is the bulk of the film.

The film is divided into two acts. In the first act Fanny is shown as a stage-struck teen who gets her first job in vaudeville. She meets the sophisticated Nick Arnstein after her debut performance. They continue to meet occasionally over the years gradually becoming more romantically involved as Fanny's career flourishes and she becomes a major star. Eventually Arnstein seduces Fanny in Baltimore as they duet on the song, "You Are Woman, I Am Man". The first act finishes with Fanny deciding to give up her place in the Follies and follow her man. She brushes aside objections from her friends, and in a dramatic rendition of "Don't Rain on My Parade", she is seen racing to catch the ship he has taken to earn his fortune.

The second act opens with the couple on the ship. Fanny reveals to Arnstein that she'd like to become a Sadie - her name for a married lady. Arnstein, however, needs to make his fortune from a poker game before he'll agree to marry her. Fanny cannot take the tension of the game and goes back to their cabin to await Arnstein who returns in the morning, calling her Sadie before revealing all the money he has won. They marry, move into an expensive house and have a baby girl. Fanny goes back on stage with Ziegfield, and life appears very rosy. However Nick's business ventures fail and they have to move into a smaller apartment. He refuses financial help from Fanny, instead getting involved in a bonds scam which goes bad and he is imprisoned for embezzlement.

The film now returns to Fanny in the theatre awaiting Arnstein. When he arrives the couple agree to separate, and Fanny sings the closing song "My Man" with tears running down her face.


Development began when Isobel Lennart was asked by Ray Stark in the early 1960s to write the screenplay, and then Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim were hired to write the songs. A treatment of Lennart's script was used by David Merrick as the basis for the stage musical which went out on Broadway while the film was still in development. Jerome Robbins was brought on board to direct, and Mary Martin was approached for the part of Fanny. Sondheim dropped out to be replaced as lyricist by Bob Merrill, while Carol Heaney joined as choreographer. Anne Bancroft was Robbins' preferred choice for Fanny, but Bancroft wasn't happy with the songs, so Eydie Gormé and Carol Burnett were considered. Robbins was unhappy with the script development and wanted Lennart fired. When Stark refused to fire Lennart, Robbins resigned, to be replaced by Bob Fosse who got the relatively little known Barbra Streisand to play the leading part in her very first movie. Streisand said she would play the part "as herself" because she felt that she and Brice were "very much alike". [Louis Calta, New York Times, July 26, 1963] Fosse then left the project to be briefly replaced by Garson Kanin after Sidney Lumet turned it down, before William Wyler came on board and saw the project through to completion. [ [ >> Barbra Streisand Archives | Funny Girl | Broadway ] ]

Filming started in August 1967 and finished in December. [ [ >> Barbra Streisand Archives | Funny Girl Pre-Production, Costume Tests, Behind the Scenes ] ] It went on general release on 19 September 1968. [ [ >> Barbra Streisand Archives | Funny Girl (movie) 1968 | Cut Scenes, Photos, Articles, more ] ]


The film paired Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice with Omar Sharif in the role of Nick Arnstein. Kay Medford repeated her stage role as Rose Brice, and Walter Pidgeon was cast as Flo Ziegfeld, with Anne Francis in the added role of showgirl Georgia James, although most of her performance was left on the cutting room floor. The role of Mrs. Strakosh played by Jean Stapleton on stage went to Mae Questel. Gerald Mohr played Tom Branca, while Frank Faylen was Keeney.


Not all the songs from the original Broadway score were used. The most notable addition was "My Man," a Fanny Brice tune used as the film's finale.
#"I'm the Greatest Star" - Fanny
#"If a Girl Isn't Pretty" - Fanny, Mrs. Strakosh, and Rose
#"Rollerskate Rag" - Fanny and the Rollerskate Girls
#"I'd Rather Be Blue Over You (Than Happy With Somebody Else)" - Fanny
#"Secondhand Rose" - Fanny
#"His Love Makes Me Beautiful" - Fanny and Company
#"People" - Fanny
#"People (Reprise)" - Fanny
#"You Are Woman, I Am Man" - Nick and Fanny
#"Don't Rain on My Parade" - Fanny
#"Sadie, Sadie" - Fanny and Nick
#"The Swan" - Fanny
#"Funny Girl" - Fanny
#"My Man" - Fanny


Streisand won the Academy Award for Best Actress, an honor she shared with Katharine Hepburn for "The Lion in Winter". The film was nominated in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kay Medford), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Music, Score of a Musical Picture (Original or Adaptation), Best Original Song ("Funny Girl"), and Best Sound. [ [ Session Timeout - Academy Awards® Database - AMPAS ] ]

The film was a huge hit in theaters, and became the top grossing film of 1968. Streisand received a Golden Globe as Best Actress; nominations also went to the film, the title song, and Wyler. Lennart's screenplay won her recognition from the Writers Guild of America.

A 1975 sequel, entitled "Funny Lady", with James Caan in the role of Brice's second husband, impresario Billy Rose, was considered inferior by most critics, but was still a commercial success.

American Film Institute recognition

*2004 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs:
** "People," #13
** "Don't Rain on My Parade" #46
*2005 AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes:
** "Hello, gorgeous" #81
*2006 AFI's 100 Years of Musicals:
** "Funny Girl," #16


External links


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