Funny Girl review

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In her big-screen debut, Barbra Streisand stars in the fictionalised biography of Fanny Brice, a comedienne and singer in early 20th-century New York, who's plucked from obscurity to lead the Ziegfeld Follies stage show. Fame, riches and public adoration follow, as does a bittersweet marriage to gentleman gambler Nick Arnstein (Omar Sharif, fresh from the success of Doctor Zhivago), whose dodgy business practices threaten a scandal.

Adapted from the hit Broadway musical, Funny Girl exudes class - there's a terrific array of song and dance numbers (including `People' and `Don't Rain On My Parade'), a tear-jerking storyline and a bevy of colourful costumes. In his first (and last stab) at the musical, William Ben-Hur Wyler does a decent job of breathing life into the stage original, striking a balance between the musical interludes and the drama, while doing his best to ensure that every song's a hit. He even lets young Omar get a ditty under his belt (fortunately just the one).

If you ever wondered why Streisand's a star, look no further. Quirky, charming and very funny, Babs screams talent. Mariah Carey, take note... in this case, all that glitters is truly gold.

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