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Part One: Introduction ...
In making its transition from stage to screen, Funny Girl faced several challenges. Its experienced director, William Wyler, had never directed a musical. (Herbert Ross directed the film's musical numbers.) Playwright Isobel Lennart re-incorporated scenes and ideas in her screenplay that got cut from her script for the Broadway show. And producer Ray Stark tossed several of composer Jule Styne's songs and was able to secure film rights to two real-life Fanny Brice songs.
Isobel Lennart’s final shooting script — which is very similar to the final edited film — contains lines and scenes that were streamlined by the film editors. Many of the scenes we all know by heart had extra lines or embellishments in the final shooting script which were filmed, then cut.
Film editing is about telling the story visually — and with economy of exposition. Writers love the “back stories” of their characters.
In general, Ms. Lennart tried to retain elements of her stage play for the film, including character development scenes and songs for Fanny’s mother, the neighbor Mrs. Strakosh, and Fanny’s friend, Eddie.
Barbra Archives presents this multi-page report on the scenes from Funny Girl that were filmed and left on the cutting room floor. These pages reference the FINAL SHOOTING SCRIPT by Isobel Lennart (revised in August and October of 1967) and also photos, video and audio from my collection of the excised scenes.
The scenes are presented here in order as they occur in the movie.
Cut Scenes—Part One
Scene 10.—Trim. MED. SHOT, A CARD TABLE, FOUR WOMEN
The first trim in the Funny Girl film comes very early: Fanny's first flashback.
Did you hear that, Mrs. Strakosh? Ziegfeld is waiting for me. For me! You see, you were wrong, Mrs. Strakosh...
The editors then DISSOLVE to a close up of Fanny, looking in the mirror (note: with her sailor jacket on!).
Here's the original dialogue from that scene which was trimmed out:
No, Fanny, dolling, I'm not wrong! Ziegfeld ain't waiting that fast!
So it isn't Ziegfeld — it's Keeney and his Oriental Palace. But he has a stage show and an audience and ...
Hurry up, you'll be late the first day. Come on, ladies, play ball!
MRS. STRAKOSH (shuffling cards)
If I was you, Mrs. Brice, I wouldn't tell her hurry up. I'd tell her better — don't go! Stop wasting your life already!
Mrs. Strakosh, my daughter is nineteen years of age. And she's been earning her living in show business since she was fourteen. That's wasting her life by you?
She wouldn't be better off with a husband? A nice man that's crazy about her?
Well, gee, Mrs. Strakosh, I'm planning to have the whole world crazy about me. That's a lot to give up for just one man.
MRS. STRAKOSH *
Fanny. Honey-bunch. For a girl — for average — you're a pleasure. But when people pay good money in the theayater .......
* in the final film, the editors simply cut to this line delivered by Mrs. Strakosh. You can see the continuity lapse: Streisand is putting her sailor jacket on while Mrs. Strakosh is speaking to her! In the previous scene she already had the white-colored jacket on.
Also absent from the final film is Mrs. Strakosh's singing of another verse of the song. You can hear it below (Actress Mae Questel is backed by piano; Music director Walter Scharf would have added the orchestrated accompaniment later in the movie-making process).
It's also interesting to note that some of Strakosh's vocal was included on the Funny Girl soundtrack album & CD.
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