The story of the life of comedienne Fanny Brice, from her early days in the Jewish slums of the Lower East Side, to the height of her career with the Ziegfeld Follies, including her marriage to and eventual divorce from her second husband, Nick Arnstein.
Barbra Streisand is simply superb in this depiction of the early life of Vaudeville girl and more Fanny Brice. From her humble beginnings, and with the help of her friend Eddie Ryan (Lee Allen) we see her come to the attention of the mighty Florenz Ziegfeld (Walter Pidgeon) before her career becomes the stuff of legend. Streisand's characterisation is authentic - her stoic Jewish antecedence, her less-than-pin-up looks; her sassiness are all charmingly captured as she gradually falls for her debonaire, if somewhat flawed, beau Omar Sharif - who is also very effective as her rakish love Nicky Arsntein. Their tumultuous relationship, peppered with plenty of pithy dialogue and partnered with an outstanding collection of songs from award winning lyricists Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, James Hanley and Grant Clarke just makes this an excellent piece of theatre on a big screen. The likes of "Second Hand Rose"; "People" and "Don't Rain on My Parade" have long since become standards of the American songbook oft sung by the great and the good ever since. There are also plenty of engaging cameo characters - especially at the beginning - to keep this classy piece of cinema from William Wyler well worth a watch. Loads of poetic licence, here - its not an autobiography - it's just an enjoyable 2½ of entertainment.