Saturday, February 10, 2007

Friday Film Night ~ Funny Girl

For my first Pink Heart Hall of Fame nominee for 2007, I put forward a classic, perhaps a controversial one too...


I remember the first time I saw this film. My Mum’s very favourite. I remember going to bed way past my bed time, looking out the blinds at a full moon sending shafts of silver light through heavy clouds and crying for hours. Absolutely hours. I had to have been all of sixteen and very angsty, but still, this love story moved me that much.

Funny Girl . was originally a stage musical. The movie version, directed by the unsurpassed William Wyler, became the biggest grossing film of 1968. In 2006 this film ranked #16 on the American Film Institute's list of best musicals.


The semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of Broadway and film star and comedienne Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nicky Arnstein. Based on the classic A Star is Born formula of poor talented entertainer makes good, earns success beyond her wildest dreams and the love of a gorgeous man. The problem is, her guy simply can’t see his way to being happy with her level of success and he falls into old bad habits and disrepute. And in the end she loses him.

THE HERO: Nick Arnstien. Card shark. Omar Sharif at his charming best.

Tall, dark, handsome, elegant, charming, and utterly enraptured with our working class heroine. He falls for Fanny so fast, so quick, so completely and for such a strong alpha brigand to do so is just scintillating to watch.

THE HEROINE: Fanny Bryce. A true life heroine. Played by the fantabulous Barbra Streisand in the performance of her career.

She is bawdy, self-conscious, funny, ambitious and uber-talented.

Who can’t love a heroine who begs to b given her big chance to be a showgirl, promising the head of the club that of course she can roller skate, only to discover as she heads out onto the stage with ten other beautifies, that she in fact can’t. Skate. Hilarious! Not only that, it makes her endearing, down to earth, a woman with such hope she is willing to put everything on the line to achieve her dream.

But does that ‘anything’ include the man she loves?

THE ROMANCE: Boy oh boy, do these two sizzle! Omar Shariff is just gooooorgeous. Barbra Streisand is hilarious and that voice. Phew! And the romance is just a delight. It is sweet and funny and nerve-wracking and romantic by turns. Both characters are flawed and doing their best. You want Nick to go straight and you ant Fanny to have a happy ending.

But real life just gets in the way. Petty jealousy and human nature win out.

Nicky falls off the rails and goes to jail. Fanny is left in the spotlight alone. And that final song, ‘My Man’, (which was also the original title of the film) in which she laments her lost love and tells the world that no matter where he is, not matter what he has done, she’ll always be his...

I love this song I can’t listen to it without crying. I even have imaginings that if I ever made it to the Australian Idol top twelve this would be the song that would endear me to the nation.

Natasha Oakley might argue that this is not a romance, as it does not have your classic romantic happily ever after. What do you reckon? Can a movie or a book without a happily ever after truly be a romance?


Ally's latest book, Sweet Romance Meant-To-Be Mother is available now in Australia and New Zealand.

For more about the book, with blurbs, excerpts and behind the scenes info and pics, check out her website.

And on her blog this month she is talking about the process of writing her next Romance in her Between the Sheets series so come along and ask any questions you please!

1 comment:

  1. Can a movie or a book without a happily ever after truly be a romance?

    The movie Titantic is considered a romance or romantic movie and it doesn't exactly have a HEA. I have never seen Funny Girl so I can't say anything about it specifically. I guess it is more about the story itself than the ending when it comes to calling something a romance.

    I, myself, prefer a HEA in my romances, but I do consider some things without one romances...I guess it is a matter of opinion whether or not you consider something without one a "true" romance.

    I have noticed that I am more likely to call a movie without a HEA a romance than I am a book without one...maybe it is because almost ALL of the books I have read that are labeled romance have a HEA. Those without one are usually labeled fiction or Chick Lit. I guess that labels can affect or influence how you learn to define romance.

    Sorry for rambling!