Original film poster by Richard Amsel
|Directed by||Gene Kelly|
|Produced by||Ernest Lehman|
|Written by||Ernest Lehman|
|Music by||Jerry Herman|
|Cinematography||Harry Stradling Sr.|
|Editing by||William Reynolds|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox (original), The Walt Disney Company (current)|
|Release date(s)||December 16, 1969|
|Running time||145 min.|
Hello, Dolly! is a 1969 American musical film, based on the Broadway production of the same name and released on December 16, 1969 by 20th Century Fox. The film follows the story of Dolly Levi (Barbra Streisand), a strong-willed matchmaker who travels to Yonkers, New York in an attempt to find a match for the miserly "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire," Horace Vandergelder. In doing so, she convinces his niece, her intended, and Horace's two clerks to travel to New York City.
Gene Kelly directed producer Ernest Lehman's screenplay. The cast included Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau, Michael Crawford, Danny Lockin, Tommy Tune, Fritz Feld, Marianne McAndrew, E. J. Peaker and Louis Armstrong, whose recording of the title tune was a #1 hit in the mid-1960s. It was photographed in 65 mm Todd-AO by Harry Stradling Sr.. Singer Violetta Villas was considered for the role of Dolly Levi due to her outstanding vocal abilities, but lost it to Barbra Streisand who was more popular.
In 1890, all of New York City is excited because widowed, brassy Dolly Levi (Streisand) is in town ("Call On Dolly"). Dolly makes a living through matchmaking and numerous sidelines ("Just Leave Everything To Me"). She is currently seeking a wife for grumpy Horace Vandergelder (Matthau), the well-known "half-a-millionaire," but it becomes clear that Dolly intends to marry Horace herself. Dolly travels to Yonkers, New York to visit Horace. Ambrose Kemper (Tune), a young artist, wants to marry Horace's weepy niece Ermengarde (Ames), but Horace opposes this because Ambrose's vocation does not guarantee a steady living. Horace, who is the owner of Vandergelder's Hay and Feed, explains to his two clerks, Cornelius Hackl (Crawford) and Barnaby Tucker (Lockin), that he is going to get married because "It Takes a Woman" to cheerfully do all the household chores. He plans to travel to New York City to propose to Irene Molloy (McAndrew), who owns a hat shop there. Dolly arrives in Yonkers and sends Horace ahead to the city. Before leaving he tells Cornelius and Barnaby to mind the store.
Cornelius decides that he and Barnaby need to get out of Yonkers. Dolly knows two ladies in New York they should call on: Irene Molloy and her shop assistant, Minnie Fay (Peaker). She enters Ermengarde and Ambrose in the upcoming polka competition at the fancy Harmonia Gardens Restaurant in New York City, so Ambrose can demonstrate his ability to be a bread winner to Uncle Horace. Cornelius, Barnaby, Ambrose, Ermengarde and Dolly take the train to New York ("Put on Your Sunday Clothes"). Irene and Minnie open their hat shop for the afternoon. Irene does not love Horace Vandergelder and declares that she will wear an elaborate hat to impress a gentleman ("Ribbons Down My Back"). Cornelius and Barnaby arrive at the shop and pretend to be rich. Horace and Dolly arrive and Cornelius and Barnaby hide. Minnie screams when she finds Cornelius hiding in an armoire. Horace is about to open the armoire himself, but Dolly "searches" it and pronounces it empty. After hearing Cornelius sneeze, Horace storms out upon realizing there are men hiding in the shop, although he is unaware that they are his clerks.
Dolly arranges for Cornelius and Barnaby, who are still pretending to be rich, to take the ladies out to dinner to the Harmonia Gardens to make up for their humiliation. She teaches Cornelius and Barnaby how to dance since they always have dancing at such establishments ("Dancing"). The clerks and the ladies go to watch the Fourteenth Street Association Parade together. Alone, Dolly asks her first husband Ephram's permission to marry Horace, requesting a sign. She resolves to move on with life ("Before the Parade Passes By"). After meeting an old friend, Gussie Granger (Judy Knaiz), on a float in the parade, Dolly catches up with the annoyed Vandergelder as he is marching in the parade. She tells him the heiress Ernestina Simple would be perfect for him and asks him to meet her at the Harmonia Gardens that evening.
Cornelius is determined to get a kiss before the night is over. Since the clerks have no money to hire a carriage, they tell the girls that walking to the restaurant shows that they've got "Elegance". In a quiet flat, Dolly prepares for the evening ("Love Is Only Love"). At the Harmonia Gardens Restaurant, Rudolph (David Hurst), the head waiter, whips his crew into shape for Dolly Levi's return. Horace arrives to meet his date, who is really Dolly's friend Gussie. As it turns out, she is not rich or elegant as Dolly implied, and she soon leaves after being bored by Horace, just as she and Dolly planned.
Cornelius, Barnaby and their dates arrive and are unaware that Horace is also at the restaurant. Dolly makes her triumphant return to the Harmonia Gardens and is greeted in style by the staff. ("Hello, Dolly!") She sits in the now-empty seat at Horace's table and proceeds to tell him that no matter what he says, she will not marry him. Fearful of being caught, Cornelius confesses to the ladies that he and Barnaby have no money, and Irene, who knew they were pretending all along, offers to pay for the meal. She then realizes that she left her handbag with all her money in it at home. The four try to sneak out during the polka contest, but Horace recognizes them and also spots Eremengarde and Ambrose. In the ensuing confrontation, Vandergelder fires Cornelius and Barnaby (although they claim to have already quit) and they are forced to flee as a riot breaks out. Cornelius professes his love for Irene ("It Only Takes A Moment"). Horace declares that he wouldn't marry Dolly if she were the last woman in the world. Dolly angrily bids him farewell; while he's bored and lonely, she'll be living the high life ("So Long, Dearie").
The next morning, back at the hay and feed store, Cornelius and Irene, Barnaby and Minnie, and Ambrose and Ermengarde each come to collect the money Vandergelder owes them. Chastened, he finally admits that he needs Dolly in his life, but she is unsure about the marriage until Ephram sends her a sign. Vandergelder spontaneously repeats a saying of Ephram's: "Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It's not worth a thing unless it's spread about, encouraging young things to grow." Cornelius becomes Horace's business partner at the store, and Barnaby fills in Cornelius' old position. Horace tells Dolly life would be dull without her, and she promises that she'll "never go away again" ("Hello, Dolly!").
The town of Garrison, NY was the filming site for scenes in "Yonkers." In the opening credits, the passenger train is traveling along the Hudson River. Provided by the Strasburg Rail Road, the train is pulled by PRR 1223 (now located in the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania). The coach utilized in "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" was restored specifically for the film, and is still running in Strasburg, PA
Working under the musical direction of Lionel Newman and Lennie Hayton, the very large team of orchestrators included: film stalwarts Herbert W. Spencer, Alexander Courage; the original Broadway production arranger, Philip J. Lang, making a rare film outing; along with pop arrangers Don Costa and Frank Comstock.
• Just Leave Everything To Me and Love Is Only Love were not in the Broadway version. Jerry Herman wrote Just Leave Everything to Me especially for Streisand. He had previously written Love is Only Love for the stage version of Mame, but it was cut before its Broadway premiere. It occurred in the story as Mame tried to explain falling in love to her young nephew Patrick. A brief prologue of "Mrs. Horace Vandergelder" was added to the song to integrate it into this film.
The film received BAFTA nominations for Streisand and Matthau, art direction, and cinematography. It also received five Golden Globe nominations, as Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), and for Streisand, Kelly, and two for McAndrew, as Best Supporting Actress and Most Promising Newcomer.
The film grossed $56 million at the US box office; worldwide figures are not known. Rentals are $50 million which totals $106 million.