Columbia Pictures is hoping people — people who need people — will flock to its Aug. 31 re-release of the movie musical, "Funny Girl," the 1968 picture that won Barbra Streisand her first Academy Award.
The new print, to been seen at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City, the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles and the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, creates a brilliant image and refreshed sound quality not seen or heard in old prints. Sony Pictures Entertainment is responsible for the restoration.
"We started restoring 'Funny Girl' three years ago to repair the damage that occurred to the original negative when the film was first released, due to the enormous number of prints struck from the negative," Grover Crisp, vice president of film restoration at Sony Pictures, said in a statement. "Missing frames, numerous scratches and a disintegrating soundtrack were part of the damage done over time."
"Funny Girl" was originally released by Columbia Pictures Sept. 19, 1968. Musical supervision was by Walter Scharf. Cinematography was by Harry Stradling, and a return to Technicolor's Dye Transfer Process insures that the colors of the original release come through.
Future bookings are expected in Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Boston, Atlanta and other major cities around the country. The restoration will be seen in the film's future DVD release. Conjuring the days when movies were genuine "events," the picture will be shown in its "road show" format that includes a soundtrack overture, intermission and exit music. A run of more than one week is planned.
William Wyler, helming his first film musical, directed this version of the 1964 Broadway hit that had a score by composer Jule Styne (Gypsy) and lyricist Bob Merrill (Carnival, Take Me Along). Wyler's credits include "Ben Hur" and "The Best Years of Our Lives."
The story tells the fictionalized version of vaudeville and radio star Fanny Brice's rise from the Jewish working class to star of the Ziegfeld Follies. Omar Sharif co-stars as the romanticized version of Brice's gambler-businessman husband, Nicky Arnstein. Kay Medford, Anne Francis, Lee Allen and Walter Pidgeon (as Flo Ziegfeld) also star. Choreography is by Herbert Ross. Isobel Lennart penned the screenplay (and the original libretto). Ray Stark produced.
Unlike the stage show, the film version uses Maurice Yvains and Channing Pollack's "My Man" as a climactic emotional vocal. The tune was Brice's signature song. Period songs "Second Hand Rose" and "I'd Rather Be Blue" are also sprinkled into the original score.
Sony's goal is to preserve and restore all the films in Sony's feature library.
— By Kenneth Jones