Today is Mom’s birthday, a perfect opportunity to say a brief word about one of her favorite films. Funny Girl follows the rise of comedienne Fanny Brice and her early career in as a Ziegfeld girl in New York City. The film adaptation is a merry roller coaster through Barbraland, yet another one of our beloved oh-that’s-where-that-song-is-from musicals. You’ll find “Don’t Rain on My Parade” on practically every mixed CD in Mom’s car (okay yes, that’s partially my doing), and the remaining lively soundtrack is scattered throughout the labyrinth of her glove box.
To those of you who have developed an aversion to Barbra and shy away from films like Funny Girl (I’ve met more of you than I expected), here is the strongest piece of evidence I can offer in its defense. At the 1969 Academy Awards, Ingrid Bergman was stunned to find not one but two names in the envelope for Best Actress in a Leading Role. In this incredibly rare but warranted tie, Barbra Streisand was humbled to be in the regal company of Katharine Hepburn, who also won for her phenomenal performance in The Lion in Winter. Now I ask you, with a Hepburn Oscar staring you in the face, how can you resist comparing these two incomparable performances?
For once in my life, just once, I didn’t say too much, I didn’t say too little; I said just enough, then I walked . . . Happy birthday, Mom!