The Royal Premiere of Funny Girl took place fifty years ago on 15 January 1969 in London, four months after the film’s American roadshow release. Based on a long-running Broadway show, this big-budget musical biopic was Barbra Streisand’s first movie, and it became one of the biggest hits of the late 1960s. Despite the participation of some of Hollywood’s most highly acclaimed personnel (notably veteran director William Wyler), this is first and foremost a vehicle for the film’s star. Playing legendary Jewish comedienne Fanny Brice, Streisand’s physical comedy, rapid fire dialogue delivery, varied costumes and intense emotionality in her acting as well as her songs (including the classic ‘People’) make this possibly the most impressive movie debut of all time.
Heading to HOME for this screening? Why not check out our talk about Streisand’s place in American popular culture of the 1960s and 1970s before-hand?
This screening will be introduced by film historian Peter Krämer. Peter Krämer is the author or editor of ten books, several of which deal with American cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. His latest book, the edited collection The Hollywood Renaissance (Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), includes a chapter on Barbra Streisand and Funny Girl.