From Stage to Silver Screen: Top 15 Movie Musicals of the Last 50 Years

By Ben Rimalower
14 Sep 2013

Barbra Streisand

15. "Hello, Dolly!" (1969, directed by Gene Kelly)

Some would call it sacrilege to include "Hello, Dolly!" on this list. The movie was not a great success. Also, many people feel Barbra Streisand was too young for the role, too Jewish, too weirdly Mae West-like, too much, not enough, too something. And poor Carol Channing was still in her prime and should have gotten to preserve her definitive Dolly, an important slice of Broadway history. Even the most ardent Streisand fans would take issue with me including "Hello, Dolly!" over Stresaind's own Oscar-winning triumph recreating her Broadway turn in "Funny Girl." But I choose "Hello, Dolly!" Don't get me wrong: I could watch the first hour of "Funny Girl" on a daily basis and never tire of Barbra's ugly duckling struggling to become a star, belting out those unbeatable standards "I'm The Greatest Star," Don't Rain On My Parade" and "People." But around half-time, "Funny Girl" loses me. Say what you will about "Hello, Dolly!" It's based on a tightly constructed Thornton Wilder play and the story holds up — in any adaption. And I love Barbra as Dolly. I think she's funny and sexy and totally believable and charming and she sings the hell out of the songs. Sorry, Carol. Sorry, everyone.

(Ben Rimalower is the author and original star of the critically acclaimed Patti Issues. Read Playbill.com's coverage of the solo show here. Visit him at benrimalower.com and follow @benrimalower on Twitter.)





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