Cinema Sweetheart's Rating: 8 out of 10
Director: Gene Kelly
Starring: Barbara Streisand, Walter Matthau, Michael Crawford
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Romance
Runtime: 146 minutes
Hello Dolly is the story of Ms. Dolly Levi, a widow and matchmaker who has decided that she's going to marry her rich client Horace Vandergelder. Several plots all overlap with each other when Dolly is supposed to take Horace's niece Ermengarde to New York to keep her away from her poor artist boyfriend who wants to marry her against her uncle's wishes. The plot soon expands to accommodate several subplots as Dolly tries to match up the cast's multiple couples.
This is a wonderful, feel-good sort of musical, with upbeat songs and lots of fun plot twists. Besides that, you have a wonderful cast, including Michael Crawford, who was the original Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and in London. Of course, his character, the bumbling clerk Cornelius Hackl is very different from the dark and brooding Phantom, showing the wide range of Crawford’s acting skills. Walter Mattau is delightfully stubborn as Horace Vandergelder, and of course, Barbara Streisand is a charming, beautiful, and clever Dolly Levi.
All in all, I would recommend this film very highly. The music is lots of fun and the choreography is BRILLIANT! However, it is very long, and there did come a point where I was dying to get up and walk around a bit, even though I was enjoying the movie. Also, I did find the characters of Irene Molloy and Minnie Fay to be a bit annoying; but of course, not enough to make me want to stop watching. And of course, I’m sure that I’m in the minority on this; Irene/Cornelius and Minnie/Barnaby are often considered the cutest couples in the film. Speaking of couples, I also found the pairing of Joyce Ames and Tommy Tune as Horace’s niece and her boyfriend, to be a comical choice, since at 6’6 ½”, Tommy towers over tiny little Joyce.