Streisand: the name alone evokes an intriguing image of
unsurpassed artistry, versatility, mystery and show business magic. One of the world's
truly gifted musical artists, she once referred to herself with monumental understatement
as "as actress who sings." At this juncture of her unprecedented career, the
Academy Award-winning star might modestly be termed "a filmmaker who also acts and
Lyrics and Midi file to "I Finally Found Someone"
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1997)
Co-starring Jeff Bridges and Lauren Bacall, this romantic comedy
was shot completely on location in New York City. Scripted by Richard LaGravenese, the
film follows the unsteady platonic relationship of two mature Columbia University
professors. "I wanted to examine the complications of relationships...how hard it is,
how difficult it is to find people, especially in your middle
years," explained Barbra.
The story's mother-daughter conflict, integral to the film, was
born partly from Streisand's own life. "When I first read the script, I said, 'I know
this mother.'" Barbra also composed the film's love theme, adapted by Marvin Hamlisch
and integrated into his original score. Her hit duet with Bryan Adams, "I Finally
Found Someone" appears on The Mirror Has Two Faces soundtrack CD and received a Best
Song Oscar nomination.
Buy this video online now!
Buy this video online now!
|The Prince of Tides (1991)
was the second Barbra film I watched, and, in my opinion, her performance in this movie
was more than deserving of an Oscar. Both for best actress as well as best director. She
plays Susan Lowenstein, a New York psychiatrist enmeshed in a Southern family's web of
secrets. Exploring family relationships and the
consequences of childhood trauma, the movie was based
on Pat Conroy's best-selling novel.
This film was exceptionally well-received by both audiences and critics. It
garnered seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Nick Nolte.
Streisand became only the third woman ever nominated as Best Director by the Directors
Guild Of America. She brought this book to the screen, because "It's about how love
and compassion can heal and liberate the soul. I'm interested in telling stories about
positive transformations and the potential for human growth." NBC subsequently
premiered the film for broadcast television.
Click Here for the lyrics to "Places That Belong To You",
the bonus track on the soundtrack to the movie. One of my favourite Streisand songs.
Click Here to sample some of the tracks from the soundtrack.
Click Here for real audio speech clips from the movie.
Buy "A Star Is Born" online now!
A Star Is Born (1976)
Another of my favourites by Streisand, this movie tells the love story between a
falling rock star,
John Norman Howard (Kris Kristofferson)
, and the woman he loves, Esther Hoffman (Barbra Streisand). John Norman is doing drugs and booze, pissing off his fans,
losing his zest for life. He is jaded by all this superstardom. Then he spots Esther singing at a
local nightclub, singing (I want) "Everything". He pursues her and eventually she falls in love with him.
He promises to show her how to become a star. While recording tunes together,
their love blossom, their happiness marred only by John's outbreaks of violence.
Esther is terrified he will hurt himself and makes him promise that he will never leave her, never die.
He promises. He makes her sing at what should have been his audience,
to the fury of his manager, this being the last straw after a series of outbursts. Esther sings
brilliantly and the audience and media love her. She overnight rises to stardom. From then on,
we see their two careers go in opposite directions. Esther is shooting up the charts, while John they are suing.
Like many of her other films, Barbra plays a woman who becomes more successful than her man.
Although Esther tries to pull John up from the abyss into which he is falling, she is helpless to do so.
And when John wakes early to take a drive to fetch their tour manager, the audience knows, as he says goodbye
to Esther after leaving her with a kiss in her bed, than this goodye is final. Streisand is
superb in these last two tearjerker scenes, singing a grand finale to the film with "With One More
Look At You" and "Watch Closely Now".
This film was also famous for its oscar-winning love theme, "Evergreen",
written by Streisand. Despite mixed reviews, the public loved the film,
young people, especially. It became Barbra's most successful movie and one of
the most profitable musicals of all time, grossing over $92
million domestically and another $66 million internationally.
The sound track album surged to no.1, sold 4 million copies and became the largest
selling movie sound-track to date. Evergreen also topped the charts,
selling over a million copies.
"A Star is Born" won 5 Golden Globes including Best Picture,
Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Song and Best Score. When Barbra accepted her oscar for
"Evergreen", she said,
"Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined winning an Academy Award for writing a song."
The months of wrenching work and deep involvement in every aspect of the film
left Barbra exhausted but exhilarated, but it also left
her certain that she could someday be a director.
Click here to listen to midi file of
"Evergreen" from "A Star Is Born" as you surf.
Buy "The Way We Were" (25th Anniversary Edition) online now!
The Way We Were (1973)
This film was so strongly recommended by all my friends in the generation above me that I
felt I had to buy the video and see for myself. And indeed this was a truly fabulous movie,
with a way powerful last scene.
The whole film was building up to that closing scene, where
Katie and Hubble run into each other on the street years after they have separated.
Katie now has a new husband and Hubbel a fiancee. But their love for each other had never really died.
You can see the pain behind their smiles and in their eyes.
Sydney Pollack, who directed the movie, signed on Barbra's old rehearsal pianist
from her Broadway days in Funny Girl, Marvin Hamlisch, to score
The Way We Were and to write the title song, with lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman.
Barbra did not like the song, which was designed to go over the closing credits of the movie.
"I had to beg her to sing it," the composer later said. Barbra asked Hamlisch to write another tune,
which he grudgingly did. Pollack suggested
they play both versions at the end of the movie and vote on which worked best.
Hamlisch's original version won out. Just as well; the soundtrack's single became a number one hit
and was named Billboard's top pop single of the year, and Barbra's first hit single in three
years. It also won and academy award for "Best Original Song".
The Way We Were opened in October 1973, and although the reviews were decidedly mixed, it was an outright
smash. Barbra's onscreen chemistry with Redford and the film's tearjerker
ending proved irrestible to a public that hadn't seen this kind of film since Love
Story. Barbra was again nominated for an Academy Award, while Redford was
nominated for his role in another of that year's smashes, The Sting.
In a surprise vote, Barba did not win the Oscar, losing out to Glenda Jackson for her
role in A Touch of Class.
But oscar or no oscar, her performance was certainly deserving of one, and this movie
is one of time's classic love stories.
What's Up, Doc? (1972)
Another one of my favourites. But then again, so are most of her films. This
is a hilarious slapstick comedy where Barbra Streisand plays Judy Maxwell,
a free-spirited girl with a near-genius
IQ, who has been thrown out of innumerable universities for
things such as accidentally blowing up the chemistry lab, who pushes
herself in the life of Howard Bannister. Howard, a staid
musicologist from Iowa, is played by Ryan O'Neal. Howard and his fiancee, Eunice, have come to San Francisco, where Howard hopes
to win the $20,000 Frederick Larrabee Grant for a theory he has formulated about early man's musical relationship to igneous rocks.
His chief competitor is Hugh Simon, a villanous, pompous Hungarian.
As Judy barrels her way into Bannister's life, calling him Steve and pretending to be Eunice
at the welcoming luncheon, four identical plaid overnight bags supply sublim slapstick humor. Judy's contains
lingerie, Howard's his rocks, a third, the very rich Mrs Van Hoskins' colection of priceless jewels and
a fourth, top-secret documents stolen by a government reformer. The hotel's security chief wants the jewels,
a secret agent wants the papers back. No one much wants Judy's undies or Howard's rocks.
But their cases add much to the mayhem, which includes a fire in Howards room.
A lengthy chase takes car after car through streets of San Francisco, through a huge pane of glass, down hundreds of steps, into a Chinese Dragon
, past a frantic cement layer and finally into the bay. When all is said and done, Howard regains the Larrabee
Grant, which had been forfeited to Hugh Simon after all the trouble Judy caused, when she reveals
that Simon is a plagiarist. Eunice ends up with Larrabee, and Howard winds up with Judy.
Highlights from the film apart from every scene in which Barbra appears, is when she starts to
sing "As Time Goes By" on top of a piano. What is most fascinating about Streisand in "What's Up, Doc?" is that even scaled down,
she is still the most compelling performer amid a company of comic geniuses. While the others have hilarious
moments, Barbra saunters through the film, funny in some scenes, sexy in others,
but always compelling.
Barbra herself did not have confidence in this movie. She said she was "embarassed"
to have done it. Throughout filming, as Rogalla put it, "Barbra seemed to be working through gritted
teeth." After nearly every scene, she would nudge O'Neal and say, "We're in a piece of shit, Ryan!"
She never let up. Again and again, she would say "This is not funny, Ryan. I know what's funny,
and I'm telling you this movie isn't funny." How wrong she was.
After selling back her share of the movie back to the studio,
"What's Up, Doc?" opened to rave reviews and went on to gross $70 million at the box office,
Barbra's biggest grosser to date. It also propelled Barbra to her first designation as Box Office Champ of the Year.
Buy "What's Up Doc?" online now!
Go here for an excellent interview with Barbra Streisand.
Above: Barbra in Funny Girl, 1968
Below is a list of all of Barbra's films in chronological order. Enjoy them all!
- Funny Girl (1968)
- Hello, Dolly! (1969)
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)
- The Owl and the Pussycat (1970)
- What's Up, Doc? (1972)
- Up the Sandbox (1972)
- The Way We Were (1973)
- For Pete’s Sake (1974)
- Funny Lady (1975)
- A Star Is Born (1976)
- The Main Event (1979)
- All Night Long (1981)
- Yentl (1983)
- Nuts (1987)
- The Prince of Tides (1991)
- The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)