Barbra Streisand Finds Filming Is a Chore

July 19, 1967

Singer Is Recreating ‘Funny Girl’ Role for the Movies

Streisand on tugboat

“They give me a chair with my name on it,” moaned Barbra Streisand. “So when do I get to use it? When friends ask me what I did in the movie of ‘Funny Girl,’ I’ll tell them I was a porter—the only porter in history to wear a sable hat.”

This appraisal of her first taste of movie stardom was made yesterday by the singer- actress while she paused to catch her breath between sprints along an East River pier in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, where the film version of the Broadway hit about Fannie Brice is being shot.

Ray Stark, the producer of the movie, as well as of the show, tried to look sympathetic. The co-director and choreographer, Herbert Ross, mumbled: “She’s not the athletic type,” and then talked soothingly to Miss Streisand before he asked her to try the sequence again.

The stint that provoked Miss Streisand’s wry lamentations required her to run about 30 yards along Pier 36, at the foot of Clinton Street, carrying a suitcase in one hand, a make-up case and a bunch of yellow roses in the other. As she reached a tugboat she was helped aboard by crewmen. This hour’s work will take about a minute when the movie is released by Columbia Pictures in September of next year.

‘Go, Barbra, Go’

The chief cameraman, Harry Stradling, warned that the haze was getting thicker and Miss Streisand, as she bent to pick up the luggage, told Mr. Ross:

“You better get it right this time.”

Then, with Mr. Ross, yelling “Go, Barbra, go,” she staggered along once more in an ankle-length coat dress and high heels. As she boarded the tug, Mr. Ross said to Mr. Stark: “We'll have to try it again.”

Miss Streisand yelled: “I could read your lips from here.”

Back again at the starting point, while a hairdresser adjusted the wig showing under the sable hat—it's supposed to be a cold day in 1915—Miss Streisand turned to Mr. Stark and said:

“Boy am I gonna sue you. My back hurts. My feet hurt.” She touched the dress and said: “This is wool—W-O-O-L. You know, from a lamb.” A young man fetched her water in a paper cup. After she had gulped it down, she said:

“This is the hardest work I've ever known. I had to be up at 6 in the morning. I'm not used to that. Normally I don't get up until 1. I'm used to theater hours.”

The luggage, by the way, was empty.

As the 120-pound star, looking especially wan because of pale makeup, prepared for another take, Mr. Stark observed that making “period” movies was especially expensive. He said the film would cost between $10-million and $12-million, compared to the $700,000 for the Broadway musical.

Miss Streisand was off and running again with Mr. Ross yelling to her to “drop some flowers,” as she tottered with the luggage.

This time it was satisfactory. Miss Streisand, from the tug-boat shouted “wheeee” and tossed the flowers overboard.

Then, escorted by Mr. Stark, she went toward a rented cabin cruiser to rest for about 20 minutes before she did some more running, this time without luggage.

“I’ll probably get seasick,” she told Mr. Stark.

“You’re young and healthy and strong,” Mr. Stark consoled her.

“What do you mean,” she retorted. “I’m a working mother,” said the 24-year-old star, the mother of an infant son.

Miss Streisand began picking at her fingers. Suddenly she said:

“I got thorns from those damned roses.”


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