- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 (48kHz/16-bit), French, German, Italian, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.0
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin American), Thai, Turkish
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
- Digital Copies: N/A
- Run Time: 155 Mins.
- Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: April 30, 2013
- List Price: $19.99
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(The below TheaterByte screen captures are taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.
“Hello, gorgeous!” and welcome “Babs” (as avid fans so affectionately call Ms. Streisand) to the world of Hollywood superstardom with this 1968 William Wyler-directed musical/comedy biopic about the early years of famous comedienne Fanny Brice. With that opening line, Barbra Streisand (Little Fockers; Meet the Fockers; Yentl), reprising her successful role on Broadway, was launched into the stratosphere in the role that would eventually earn her an Oscar.
Following the early life and career of famed comedienne Fanny Brice (Streisand) from her life as the daughter of immigrant saloon owners in the Jewish slums of the Lower East Side of Manhattan to a successful star of the Ziegfeld Follies, Funny Girl is really much more visual and musical spectacle in the manner of Gypsy than it is an in depth examination of the life of Brice. It is driven by the charismatic humor and all out vocal performance of Streisand herself who is, without a doubt, the star of this film.
Brice rises from the slums with a dream always in her heart to perform on the stage. She finally gets her break at a small performance house when she botches a roller skating chorus girl lineup performance and the crowd eats it up because of her knack for improvisation and her encore, a vocal performance that brings down the house. She suddenly finds herself auditioning for Florenz Ziegfeld (Walter Pidgeon) himself and winning a job in his follies. Of course, she can’t play a “beautiful bride” act straight, and pulls a gag about a pregnant bride without warning, which gets Ziegfeld steamed, but the crowd in a hoot and herself five curtain calls. From there, it’s all up, even finding herself a handsome husband in the charmer Nick Arnstein (Omar Sharif; Doctor Zhivago). But while all outward appearances seem like Brice is living the fairytale she’s always dreamed of, her personal life begins to collapse. Her husband, a big time gambler, begins collecting debts and squandering money.
Wyler, a bit of a newcomer himself to the comedy and musical dramas, does a superb job of playing up the visual aspects of the musical performances and staying out of the way enough to let the natural abilities of Streisand shine through and carry Funny Girl all the way home. Even as we only get a brief glimpse into the beginning of Brice’s career (a sequel would be made documenting her later years, Funny Lady), this is more than enough to make for an enjoyable experience. We forget that we’re even watching a biopic, and just enjoy Funny Girl for what it is – a damn good musical comedy.
Funny Girl was restored in 4K from its anamorphic 35mm source and mastered to Blu-ray from a 4K master. This edition from Sony, in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement, looks absolutely splendid, especially given the film’s 1968 vintage. Although the slightest hint of film softness still remains, there is more than enough textural detail and crispness captured here. A natural layer of grain absent noise and much of the, if any at all, source damage one would expect to see makes for a satisfying image as well. Although it has obviously been cleaned up, it still looks natural, and not excessively processed in any way. Colors pop just enough and shadows have good depth without falling into a crushed, obsidian abyss.
Funny Girl comes with a strong English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 (no “.1” or LFE channel) soundtrack that provides a spacious stereo field, good dynamic range and lots of ambience. While it does suffer from a bit of dullness due to its age, recording techniques, and, no doubt, the source, it is very effective nonetheless.
Two archival featurettes on Streisand are included.
- Barbra in Movieland (1.33;1; SD; 00:10:09)
- This is Streisand (1.33:1; SD; 00:05:34)
The Definitive Word
Barbra Streisand’s big screen star making turn in the musical comedy Funny Girl comes home is a superbly rendered 4K restoration on Blu-ray Disc from Sony. Grab this one up immediately folks.
Additional Screen Captures