Funny Girl [Blu-Ray] William Wyler

Funny Girl [Blu-Ray] William Wyler
5
Funny Girl is over two-and-a-half hours. That's two-and-a-half hours of Barbra Streisand singing, dancing, smiling, acting goofy and behaving like the most self-serving, opportunistic shrew ever depicted in a musical. In this, her first feature film after establishing herself as a mainstream musical phenomenon, she's depicted as a charmer — an unconventional woman that wins over the world through talent and determination. Reminded regularly of her less than populist physical attributes — big nose, skinny legs and smaller breasts — she's an unlikely performer, speed-talking and schmoozing her way into chorus roles ill-suited to her strengths: her voice and comic timing. She exploits the latter in her first big gig, breaking out of her dance number to make broad physical comedy out of her affected inability to use roller-skates. As calculated through her shrewd, self-serving, wildly narcissistic and inconsiderate eye, this tactic works, pissing off her boss and the other girls in the show, but wowing a mentally simple audience excited by the irreverence of it all. From here, she captures the attention of the dapper Nick Arnstein (Omar Sharif), who introduces her to the Ziegfeld Follies, where she makes a name for herself, making sarcastic a song that's intended to be glamorous and vain. The message here, before success changes her and leaves her blind to the dark path Nick, who she eventually marries, is taking with his gambling is primarily that self-serving opportunism and plucky, ostensibly friendly manipulating and conniving will eventually pay off. It's disgusting, as is Streisand's constant preening for the camera, but it's altogether American, which makes it accessible for the sort of folks that like affirming, deluded pap like this. Most of the musical numbers are catchy and appropriately theatrical, making the asserted, but never organically constructed emotional checklist work successfully under William Wyler's bland, almost non-existent direction. Fortunately, the set designers and art directors milked the glamour of the stage productions, making lush backdrops for the generic stage music and lame romantic comedy tropes, which is captured crisply and colourfully with the new 4K restoration of the film included with this Blu-Ray. Technically speaking, this update is nearly flawless, being an ideal purchase for anyone that actually enjoyed this overlong marketing ploy. The Blu-Ray also includes a couple of supplements about Streisand's career, which are merely the dated equivalent of a Wikipedia article. (Sony)