Opened: December 16, 1969
Directed by: Gene Kelly
Starring: Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau, Michael Crawford, Marianne McAndrew, E. J. Peaker, Danny Lockin, Joyce Ames, Tommy Tune, Judy Knaiz, David Hurst, Fritz Feld, Richard Collier, J. Pat O’Malley & Louis Armstrong
Despite a big production and a star lead, Hello Dolly! doesn’t quite live up to the standard that its Broadway counterpart cemented.
Matchmaker Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand) decides she wants to marry half-millionaire Horace Vandergelder (Walter Matthau). She steers him away from Irene Molloy (Marianne McAndrew) who falls for his chief clerk Cornelius Hackl (Michael Crawford) instead.
While her voice soars on every number and she perfectly hits the comedic marks, Streisand doesn’t connect emotionally with Dolly. In the stage version, Dolly is older and her relationship with her late husband is more pronounced. There’s also littler chemistry between her and Matthau.
The numbers are big and certain dance numbers are spectacles, but a larger stage doesn’t allow for the perfection of the original choreography.
Final say: The screen is not where Dolly belongs. ★★★☆☆