Entertainment Weekly - 10/12/01, p.37Ranked #52
in EW's "100 Best Movie Soundtracks" - "...Not so much funny ha-ha as funny gorgeous..."
Includes liner notes by Jack Brodsky.
Digitally remastered by Stephen Marcussen.
The film adaptation of the Broadway musical Funny Girl arrived in theaters four years after the show had opened, again starring Barbra Streisand, but much had changed in the interim, and that's reflected in the soundtrack album. While the stage show had been dominated by Streisand, there had still been room for character songs performed by other people, and the cast album contained 15 different numbers, all written by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. For the film, eight of those songs were dropped, replaced by three new Styne-Merrill numbers and two period tunes, one of them the torch song "My Man," which was associated with Ziegfeld Follies star Fanny Brice, of whom the film was nominally a biography. There were still a few moments for secondary characters to burst into song, notably the comic "If a Girl Isn't Pretty" and a verse of "You Are Woman, I Am Man" for co-star Omar Sharif (who proved to have an adequate conversational tenor). But the movie version of Funny Girl was even more of a showcase for Streisand than the stage production had been. She responded with a more mannered performance than the one she had given on the cast album, broader and full of spoken interjections. In part, that was necessary -- when you're singing "Don't Rain on My Parade" from a tugboat in New York harbor, you'd better oversing just to keep up with the production values. But the third time around with it (including the hit single rendition), she loaded "People" with vocal effects that bordered on self-parody. With a full movie orchestra, this version of the score is generally bigger and glossier, and Streisand holds her own and then some. But the result is that this drastically revised rendering of the score is less successful than the previous one. ~ William Ruhlmann