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A Movie Review? Of Hello Dolly? Well… Sort of

 

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hello dolly movie

 

Hello, Dolly! is a musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder‘s 1938 farceThe Merchant of Yonkers, which Wilder revised and retitled The Matchmaker in 1955.

Hello, Dolly! was first produced on Broadway by David Merrick in 1964, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical and nine other Tonys. The show album Hello, Dolly! An Original Cast Recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.[1] The show has become one of the most enduring musical theatre hits, enjoying three Broadway revivals and international success. It was also made into a 1969 film that was nominated for seven Academy Awards. – Wikipedia

 

 

 

Director: Gene Kelly

Writers: Michael Stewart, Thornton Wilder

Stars: Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau and Michael Crawford

 

hello dollyAs some of you know who read my articles on The Obama White House Diaries, I also republish on the website A Hollywood Republican. My friend, movie director Frank DeMartini, started the site a couple of years ago in order to give conservatives in Hollywood a voice. Since then, he’s assembled many talented writers who express their political views, often through the lens of the film industry. If Frank’s singular goal was to create a successful website, then he has succeeded. Readership has grown by leaps and bounds. And recently, he’s decided to expand the scope by launching a movie review page. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Frank has asked his writers, including me, to publish articles critiquing Hollywood films. There are 22 such articles to date, many of them written by Frank himself. Some of these reviews tie in political commentary with the movie’s subject matter, but many are simply straightforward opinions of the films themselves.

There’s just one problem. I really don’t write movie reviews. In fact, I really don’t go to movies much anymore. A quick glance at Fandango last night reinforced that behavior. There was nothing interesting enough in the offerings, at least from my perspective. But I definitely needed a diversion last night because yesterday was truly historic for this country, in a very bad way.

Our Community-Organizer-in-Chief has decided to throw our ally Israel under the bus by reversing United States policy towards the only democracy in the Arab region. It’s a policy which has stood by and supported Israel for the past 63 years. But Obama, just yesterday, has decided that the interests of the Palestinians trump the interests of Israel. He supports shrinking Israeli borders, which currently have a width of approximately 70 miles. If Obama succeeds, that nation will be only about 12 miles wide. Easily within mortar striking distance of hostile Arab enemies on all sides. Enemies which have vowed to wipe Israel off the map. If and when that happens, the only democracy in the Middle East will cease to exist, along with its citizenry. The situation is mind numbing and somewhat akin to the appeasement policies that Neville Chamberlain displayed towards the Nazis just prior to World War II. And if you don’t think this has very serious implications on the health and safety of United States, think again.

That’s why I needed a diversion last night. So it was somewhat uplifting to find the 1969 film Hello Dolly. Yes, I admit to liking the film, even though it seems somewhat incompatible with my style and interests. For example, the film’s star is Barbra Streisand. If you look up the word Liberal in the dictionary, you will see Barbara’s picture. So it’s obvious we don’t have much in common regarding politics. But I respect her talent immensely, including her performance in this film. It was also comforting to watch many of the old character actors from the 60s and 70s. Names that included David Hurst, Fritz Feld, J. Pat O’Malley and Judy Knaiz. There was even a performance by the great jazz legend Louis Armstrong that couldn’t help but bring a very large smile to my face. Yes, Gene Kelly did an amazing job directing this film, which explains why the choreography was superb.

Still, it might seem odd that a guy would enjoy a story about matchmaking in Yonkers, New York at the turn of the century. The same guy that likes The Dirty Dozen, Kelly’s Heroes, Casino, Good Fellas, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and of course, Lost in America. But Hello Dolly has a quality and character that I needed to see last night. It was pure entertainment in the form of magnificent costumes, larger-than-life elegant backgrounds, heartwarming music scores, lighthearted non-offensive humor, civic pride, a touch of innocence, and perhaps most importantly, manners and civility.

Manners and civility. That’s why I needed to see this film last night, for its display of manners and civility. That’s a character trait sorely lacking in the politics of the Obama administration and the current TV pundit political culture. It’s also a behavior totally foreign to radicals and progressives who seem to believe that any behavior is justifiable if it achieves the desired result. I think the new Democratic television ad showing a Republican pushing grandma in a wheelchair off a cliff is a case in point.

So it was comforting to see how life was in days past. Yes, I know that Hello Dolly is only fiction. I understand that life at the turn-of-the-century was less than ideal. But for two hours, Gene Kelly’s film was a nice place to be, away from the rhetoric of our current version of Neville Chamberlain. It was a welcome break from worrying whether the next world war is just around the corner. Perhaps that’s how movie patrons felt in 1939. Maybe that’s why the word movie at one time was synonymous with the word entertainment.

There Frank, there’s the review you’ve been asking for all these weeks.
Well…sort of. {:

 

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