Hello, Dolly! (1969)

G | 144 or 148 mins | Musical comedy | 17 December 1969

Director:

Gene Kelly

Writer:

Ernest Lehman

Producer:

Ernest Lehman

Cinematographer:

Harry Stradling

Production Designer:

John De Cuir

Production Company:

Chenault Productions, Inc.
Full page view
HISTORY

The film was released in both 35mm and 70mm versions. According to modern sources, Thornton Wilder's play, on which the musical Hello Dolly! was based, was itself based on a 1938 Wilder play The Merchant of Yonkers . The Merchant of Yonkers was in turn based on a Viennese farce. The Matchmaker was also the basis of a 1958 film of the same title, starring Anthony Perkins, Shirley MacLaine and Shirley Booth, directed by Joseph Anthony.
       Following the Jan 1964 Broadway debut of Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly!, items in the 8 Mar 1965 NYT and 10 Mar 1965 Var announced Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. had acquired screen rights to the musical for $2 million plus twenty-five percent of the film’s gross. Since Paramount Pictures Corp. had originally controlled screen rights to Thornton Wilder’s 1954 play, The Matchmaker, upon which Hello, Dolly! was based, Paramount had previously been given first right of refusal to the property but had declined to option it. For doing so, the 8 Dec 1965 DV reported that Paramount received a “substantial” sum as part of the Fox deal, said to be the second largest of its kind after Warner Bros. Pictures’ $5.5 million acquisition of the 1956 musical, My Fair Lady. When Ernest Lehman was hired to write and produce the film version of Hello, Dolly! as part of a five-picture deal with Fox, the studio agreed to fully finance the project while Lehman’s company, Chenault Productions, independently produced, according to the 10 Mar 1966 ... More Less

The film was released in both 35mm and 70mm versions. According to modern sources, Thornton Wilder's play, on which the musical Hello Dolly! was based, was itself based on a 1938 Wilder play The Merchant of Yonkers . The Merchant of Yonkers was in turn based on a Viennese farce. The Matchmaker was also the basis of a 1958 film of the same title, starring Anthony Perkins, Shirley MacLaine and Shirley Booth, directed by Joseph Anthony.
       Following the Jan 1964 Broadway debut of Michael Stewart and Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly!, items in the 8 Mar 1965 NYT and 10 Mar 1965 Var announced Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. had acquired screen rights to the musical for $2 million plus twenty-five percent of the film’s gross. Since Paramount Pictures Corp. had originally controlled screen rights to Thornton Wilder’s 1954 play, The Matchmaker, upon which Hello, Dolly! was based, Paramount had previously been given first right of refusal to the property but had declined to option it. For doing so, the 8 Dec 1965 DV reported that Paramount received a “substantial” sum as part of the Fox deal, said to be the second largest of its kind after Warner Bros. Pictures’ $5.5 million acquisition of the 1956 musical, My Fair Lady. When Ernest Lehman was hired to write and produce the film version of Hello, Dolly! as part of a five-picture deal with Fox, the studio agreed to fully finance the project while Lehman’s company, Chenault Productions, independently produced, according to the 10 Mar 1966 DV. Hello, Dolly! was set to be Lehman’s fourth musical motion picture, after 1956’s The King and I, 1961’s West Side Story, and 1968’s The Sound of Music (see entries).
       Barbra Streisand’s casting was announced in the 9 May 1967 issues of LAT and DV. Since she had yet to make her screen debut in 1968’s Funny Girl (see entry), Streisand’s deal was touted by Fox as the largest ever for a performer who had not yet appeared in theatrical motion pictures. The choice of the twenty-five-year-old actress sparked controversy, as stated in the 22 May 1967 LAT, partly because she was the youngest woman ever to portray the widow “Dolly Levi,” a role originated onstage by Carol Channing, who was twenty-one years Streisand’s senior. Ernest Lehman took responsibility for her casting, and in his own defense, noted that Dolly Levi was described in Thornton Wilder’s original play as of an “uncertain age.”
       The production budget was initially set at around $10 million. However, the 4 Mar 1968 LAT estimated that production costs would be anywhere between $15 and $25 million, and the 12 Mar 1969 Var cited a final expenditure of $22.5 million. The picture was later described in the 18 Dec 1969 NYT review as “the most expensive musical film ever made.”
       Rehearsals began at Fox’s studio lot in Century City, CA, sometime in Feb 1968, as indicated in the 15 Feb 1968 DV and 4 Mar 1968 LAT. A production chart in the 19 Apr 1968 DV confirmed principal photography began on 15 Apr 1968. By late Apr 1968, location shooting was underway in the Hudson Valley area of New York, where planned locations included the hamlet of Garrison and a site near West Point, NY, according to items in the 21 Aug 1967, 7 Feb 1968, and 24 Apr 1968 DV. Some Los Angeles, CA-based filming was set to take place at Fox’s ranch location in Malibu, but the bulk of shooting occurred at the Century City Fox lot. There, a parade sequence which took three days to shoot was described in the 18 Jul 1968 LAT as “Hollywood’s most massive logistical experiment,” requiring 3,108 extras, seven cameras, fifteen assistant directors, twelve firemen, thirty-five policemen, and five detectives who wore costumes and moved about the mass of background actors to ensure safety. An article in the 1 Sep 1968 LAT added that 106 animals were used, as well as a 160-piece marching band from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). The sequence was filmed on an outdoor set modeled after 1890 New York City that took six months to build and cost $1.7 million. According to an item in the 23 Apr 1969 DV, the set representing “Harmonia Gardens” was later repurposed for the filming of Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970, see entry).
       The 28 Aug 1968 Var reported that principal photography had recently wrapped “only four days over the 89-day shooting schedule.”
       The picture’s release date became a point of contention, according to a 3 Mar 1969 LAT column. As explained in the 10 Mar 1965 Var, the original deal Fox had made with Broadway producer David Merrick, who controlled rights to the musical version of Hello, Dolly!, barred the studio from releasing the film until 1970 or 1971, depending on how long the musical remained on Broadway. As of spring 1969, despite studio reports that the release issue had not been settled, some exhibitors were claiming slots had already been booked for a fall 1969 opening, and an unnamed source told LAT that plans for a Dec 1969 premiere were in the works. The first sneak preview occurred on 28 Jun 1969 in Phoenix, AZ, according to the 30 Jun 1969 DV. The following day, a 1 Jul 1969 DV item stated that the test audience had given rave reviews, and quoted Lehman as saying that “not a frame” of the current two-and-a-half-hour version would be changed. By that time, disagreements over the release date were rumored to be resolved. An article in the 23 Jul 1969 DV confirmed that Fox paid Merrick $1-$2 million to allow a pre-1971 release. A 16 Dec 1969 world premiere at New York City’s Rivoli Theatre was then announced in the 16 Oct 1969 LAT, which stated that a Los Angeles premiere would follow three days later at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. By mid-Nov 1969, advance ticket sales exceeded $1.5 million, according to a 21 Nov 1969 DV brief, and Fox’s president, Richard D. Zanuck, was quoted as saying that sales had been “considerably higher than any other Fox roadshow” release, to date. Hello, Dolly! went on to become a commercial success, and was listed in the 6 Jan 1971 Var as the sixth highest-grossing picture of 1970, with domestic film rentals of $13 million, to that time.
       The picture received Academy Awards for Art Direction, Sound, and Music (Score of a Musical Picture – original or adaptation), and Academy Award nominations for Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, and Best Picture, as well as Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Director – Motion Picture; New Star of the Year – Actress (Marianne McAndrew); Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture (Marianne McAndrew); Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy (Barbra Streisand); and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. As reported in the 31 Dec 1969 DV, Streisand was also named Cue magazine’s “Entertainer of the Year” for her performance.
       Shortly after the film’s release, a 16 Feb 1970 DV article announced that Paramount Pictures was suing Fox, David Merrick, and Merrick’s Dolly Venture Co. for “one-third of all monies” that had been paid to Merrick by Fox. As the basis for its claims, Paramount cited its 1963 agreement with Merrick, which promised the studio one-third of the sale of film rights to Hello, Dolly!, as well as its 1965 agreement with Fox, and a 1968 negotiation that occurred between Merrick and Fox over release plans, which had allegedly been done without Paramount’s knowledge.
       Items in the 7 Feb 1968 and 15 Aug 1968 DV identified Lew Tate as location manager; William Huffman and Richard Borland as gaffers; Frank McGarry as key grip; and Leslie Gorrall as an assistant director. The following actors were listed as cast members in DV items published between 17 Jan 1968 and 5 Sep 1968: Melanie Alexander; Robert Bakanic; Budd Bryan; Robert Cole; Fred Curt; Sheila Dehner; James Hibbard; Jim Hutchison; Ed Kerrigan; Kittle McCue; David Moffat; Herad Sanders; Jet Sharon; Dan Siretta; Bonnie Evans; Bradford Craig; Clay Tanner; James McEachin; Guy Wilkerson; Charles Lampkin; Harry Stanton; Will Ahern; Sherry Stoner; Jamie Bennett; Madelon Tupper; Jimmy Cross; Gene Tully; John Arnold; Lavina Dawson; Randy Lane; George Barrows; Ralph Roberts; and George Tatar.
       E. J. Peaker made her feature film debut in Hello, Dolly!, which also marked actress Marianne McAndrew’s first credited appearance in a theatrical motion picture. In an interview published in the 9 Jun 1968 LAT, McAndrew expressed surprise at having won the coveted role of “Irene Molloy” despite her inability to sing, and revealed that a voice double would be used for her singing sequences.
       In 2008, the Walt Disney-Pixar animated film WALL•E included clips of Hello, Dolly! Within the story, the robot "WALL•E" loves to watch a videotape of the film, especially part of a dance sequence of "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," and the romantic ballad "It Only Takes a Moment," featuring Michael Crawford and Marianne McAndrew. Both the clips and the songs are repeated several times throughout WALL•E, and "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," sung by Crawford, is heard on the soundtrack at the beginning of the film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
29 Apr 1965
p. 11.
Daily Variety
8 Dec 1965
p. 1.
Daily Variety
10 Mar 1966
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
26 Jan 1967
p. 1, 4.
Daily Variety
9 May 1967
p. 2.
Daily Variety
21 Aug 1967
p. 1.
Daily Variety
17 Jan 1968
p. 14.
Daily Variety
6 Feb 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
7 Feb 1968
p. 3.
Daily Variety
15 Feb 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1968
p. 14.
Daily Variety
24 Apr 1968
p. 2.
Daily Variety
23 May 1968
p. 3.
Daily Variety
31 May 1968
p. 9.
Daily Variety
3 Jul 1968
p. 8.
Daily Variety
30 Jul 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
5 Aug 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
15 Aug 1968
p. 11.
Daily Variety
29 Aug 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
4 Sep 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
5 Sep 1968
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 Apr 1969
p. 26.
Daily Variety
23 Apr 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Jun 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
30 Jun 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
1 Jul 1969
p. 2.
Daily Variety
23 Jul 1969
p. 1, 5.
Daily Variety
21 Nov 1969
p. 24.
Daily Variety
16 Dec 1969
p. 3.
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1969
p. 3, 30.
Daily Variety
31 Dec 1969
p. 8.
Daily Variety
16 Feb 1970
p. 1, 8.
Films and Filming
Feb 1970
pp. 51-52.
Los Angeles Times
9 May 1967
Section D, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
22 May 1967
Section D, p. 25.
Los Angeles Times
4 Mar 1968
Section C, p. 31.
Los Angeles Times
9 Jun 1968
Section C, p. 17.
Los Angeles Times
18 Jul 1968
Section F, p. 1, 6.
Los Angeles Times
20 Aug 1968
Section F, p. 1, 11.
Los Angeles Times
1 Sep 1968
Section A, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
14 Oct 1968
Section F, p. 23.
Los Angeles Times
3 Mar 1969
Section G, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
16 Oct 1969
Section D, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
18 Nov 1969
Section E, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
22 Dec 1969
Section E, p. 1, 11.
New York Times
8 Mar 1965
p. 33.
New York Times
9 May 1967
p. 53.
New York Times
23 Aug 1967
p. 41.
New York Times
17 Oct 1969
p. 32.
New York Times
17 Dec 1969
p. 66.
New York Times
18 Dec 1969
p. 62.
New Yorker
3 Jan 1970
p. 57-58.
Saturday Review
10 Jan 1970
p. 30.
Time
26 Dec 1969.
---
Variety
10 Mar 1965
p. 2, 78.
Variety
28 Aug 1968
p. 22.
Variety
12 Mar 1969
p. 28.
Variety
24 Dec 1969
p. 14.
Variety
6 Jan 1971
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Ernest Lehman's Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Antique jewelry from
MUSIC
Mus score and cond
Mus score and cond
Orch
Choral arr
Mus ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
Spec photog eff
DANCE
Dances and mus numbers staged by
Asst choreographer
Dance arr
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstyling
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Scr supv
Dial coach
Public relations
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical Hello, Dolly!, book by Michael Stewart, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, produced on stage by David Merrick, directed and choreographed by Gower Champion (New York, 16 Jan 1964), which was based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder (London, 4 Nov 1954).
SONGS
"Just Leave Everything to Me," "It Takes a Woman," "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," "Ribbons Down My Back," "Dancing," "Before the Parade Passes By," "Elegance," "Love Is Only Love," "Hello, Dolly," "It Only Takes a Moment" and "So Long Dearie," words and music by Jerry Herman.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 December 1969
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 16 December 1969
New York opening: 17 December 1969
Los Angeles premiere: 19 December 1969
Production Date:
15 April--August 1968
Copyright Claimant:
Chenault Productions, Inc. and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
18 December 1969
Copyright Number:
LP38180
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
DeLuxe
gauge
35mm & 70mm
Widescreen/ratio
Todd-AO
Duration(in mins):
144 or 148
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
21848
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1890, Dolly Levi, a widowed New York City Jewish matchmaker, journeys to Yonkers, home of Horace Vandergelder, a wealthy grain merchant whom she would like to marry. Horace wants Dolly to take his niece, Ermengarde, to New York, where the girl will be protected from the attentions of Ambrose Kemper, an impoverished young artist. In addition, he reveals his intention to marry Irene Molloy, a pretty New York milliner, an announcement that inspires Dolly to devise a plan to keep Horace for herself. First, she instructs Ermengarde and Ambrose to escape to New York, hoping they will win first prize in the dance contest given at the elegant Harmonia Gardens restaurant. Upon overhearing that Cornelius and Barnaby, the destitute clerks from Horace's store, are planning to take a day off in the owner's absence, Dolly advises them to visit Irene's shop but not to reveal who has sent them. The girl-shy clerks follow her suggestion and introduce themselves as wealthy sophisticates to Irene and her assistant, Minnie Fay, but their visit is aborted when they spot Horace and Dolly about to enter. The boys hide and conceal their identity, but all marriage potential between Horace and Irene is dissolved when he discovers the two men. Pleased with the outcome of her plan, Dolly persuades Cornelius and Barnaby to take the girls to Harmonia Gardens for dinner and also arranges for Horace to be met there by a new marriage prospect, the heiress Ernestina Simple, who is, in fact, Dolly's actress friend Gussie Granger. Exquisitely coiffed and gowned, Dolly makes a dazzling entrance at the restaurant, where she charms Horace until he is about to propose to her; but ... +


In 1890, Dolly Levi, a widowed New York City Jewish matchmaker, journeys to Yonkers, home of Horace Vandergelder, a wealthy grain merchant whom she would like to marry. Horace wants Dolly to take his niece, Ermengarde, to New York, where the girl will be protected from the attentions of Ambrose Kemper, an impoverished young artist. In addition, he reveals his intention to marry Irene Molloy, a pretty New York milliner, an announcement that inspires Dolly to devise a plan to keep Horace for herself. First, she instructs Ermengarde and Ambrose to escape to New York, hoping they will win first prize in the dance contest given at the elegant Harmonia Gardens restaurant. Upon overhearing that Cornelius and Barnaby, the destitute clerks from Horace's store, are planning to take a day off in the owner's absence, Dolly advises them to visit Irene's shop but not to reveal who has sent them. The girl-shy clerks follow her suggestion and introduce themselves as wealthy sophisticates to Irene and her assistant, Minnie Fay, but their visit is aborted when they spot Horace and Dolly about to enter. The boys hide and conceal their identity, but all marriage potential between Horace and Irene is dissolved when he discovers the two men. Pleased with the outcome of her plan, Dolly persuades Cornelius and Barnaby to take the girls to Harmonia Gardens for dinner and also arranges for Horace to be met there by a new marriage prospect, the heiress Ernestina Simple, who is, in fact, Dolly's actress friend Gussie Granger. Exquisitely coiffed and gowned, Dolly makes a dazzling entrance at the restaurant, where she charms Horace until he is about to propose to her; but he spots Ermengarde and Ambrose on the dance floor. In his hectic pursuit of the couple, Horace incites a ruckus that climaxes when he discovers his two clerks using the melee as an opportunity to sneak away from an unpaid check. He fires them, but Dolly, disgusted by Horace's lack of charity, leaves him in anger. The next morning, however, the merchant repents and gives Ermengarde and Ambrose permission to marry, promotes Cornelius and Barnaby, and finally asks Dolly to marry him, thereby making the matchmaker's scheme a total success. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.