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Wyler’s Legacy — 2 Comments

  1. Funny Girl is Ben-Hur with songs? Huh? Does that mean it got too much adoration when released and now doesn't hold up? Geez, way to dismiss a film that inarguably contains one of the greatest musical/comedy performances in movie history. Are you implying that Streisand's performance equates with Heston's? Funny Girl has its draggy moments, but it also contains some of Wyler's nicest late work and he surely deserves kudos for presenting an important new star with the same style he employed for Roman Holiday.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Anon. I thought my point was clear enough, but I’ll try again: What I meant was that Funny Girl was, and remains — with the sole exception of Barbra Streisand's performance — bloated, leaden, stodgy and pedestrian. Just like Ben-Hur — with the sole exception of the chariot race. Not everyone agrees with me about either picture, granted, but I was only venturing an opinion. (And by the way, no analogy between Streisand's and Heston's performances was intended or should be inferred.)

    Alas, I can't agree that Funny Girl compares in any way with the sprightly, playful, light-footed Roman Holiday. Moreover, Audrey Hepburn was a bolt out of nowhere in 1953 — or at least a bolt out of negligible bits in a handful of British pictures and BBC broadcasts. By contrast, by the time Streisand got around to making her movie debut for Wyler in 1968 she was already a major star, having been Tony-nominated for Funny Girl on Broadway, made dozens of TV guest appearances and starred in two specials of her own, and released ten albums, all of which went either gold or platinum. By 1968 she was hardly a “new star”.