Funny Lady: Re-Edited
After Funny Lady previewed in Denver in early 1975, Ray Stark and Herbert Ross knew some changes must be made. The film was overly long, with a downbeat ending.
It's unclear whether Streisand and Caan were called back for reshoots at this point. The December 1973 third draft screenplay includes the "old age" scenes almost exactly as they appear in the final film, so it's possible they did not have to reshoot them.
However, including them gave the movie a 15 minute ending that presented director Ross and film editor Marion Rothman the difficult task of whittling the movie down to managable size.
They solved the problem by cutting subplots and musical numbers short.
First, they bookended the film with a flashback montage in the opening and closing credits, utilizing the extreme closeup of Streisand’s blue eyes from “Am I Blue” (which had now been cut).
Cut from the final film were subplot scenes with Bobby (Roddy McDowall) and Fanny's daughter Fran. Billy’s “Me and My Shadow” song was cut (he played some bars of it on the piano in the new, last scene). “So Long Honey Lamb” now made a cameo appearance in the film and was relegated to a reflection on the glass at the back of the theater as Billy Rose watched the show. The introduction to “Let’s Hear It For Me” (also unofficially known as “All My Life on a Stage”) was completely excised except for its opening lines.
It’s interesting to note that there is a third version of Funny Lady, edited for the airlines. Most films did special cuts that could be shown on airplanes during long flights. Usually the offensive words or extreme violence were cut out so that a general audience (especially young children) could watch the film on the plane. In the case of Funny Lady, “Isn’t It Better” and “I Got A Code in My Doze” were cut out of the airline print for time consideration. However, the old age reunion scene at the end was cut. Included, instead, were “Am I Blue” and the Bobby and Fran scenes.
There was also a “European cut” of the film that ends with the credits rolling at the railroad station when Billy leaves Fanny. This version includes an almost complete “Am I Blue” (the lamp post tag at the end is missing) as well as a longer version of Barbra as Little Eva in “So Long Honey Lamb.”
FUNNY LADY: CUT SCENES
Am I Blue?
“Am I Blue” was both shortened and moved from its original placement. Originally, the song followed the opening scene—after Fanny was served divorce papers by Nick, she took to the stage and sang “Am I Blue” as Bobby and Adele watched her from the wings of the theater. The camera panned to a huge close up of Fanny’s eyes (this shot was utilized in the opening and closing credits of the final film). As she sang the song, the camera pulled back to reveal Fanny standing against a lamp post. “Am I Blue” included a very funny Vaudevillian monologue in the middle of the song after “now he’s gone and we’re through”—this, too, was cut from the movie. (This 'bit' was based on the real Fanny Brice, who always sang 'My Man' leaning against a lamppost. Later, in The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, Brice spoofed the staging by having the lamppost walk off the stage, then later take a bow with her.)
Click the button below to the Funny Lady version:
“Oh, ah, Eric. I must say he was a man you’d look at twice. Because the first time, the first time you couldn’t believe it. But there was beauty in his face. If you could read between the lines. He was a man of about 55. (Marked down to 49). And his body, oh, his body, you should have seen that body. He could have been a model in a pretzel factory. In fact, he was so bow-legged that if he stood next to someone who was knock-kneed, they'd spell out ‘Ox’. Ha, ha, ha. Oh, that was funny. Oh, ah, Eric. I’m so sad and blue. Hope you are too. You’ve heard of nose-drops? Well, his did.”
The complete, unedited number ended with a comedic topper: As Fanny finished the song and walked away, the lamp post was attached to her back! (That is why Barbra says “Oy! Is this thing heavy!” on the recording).
[Another note: Notice on the recording above how Streisand quotes Cole Porter's “Love For Sale” at the very end. This was edited out of the final recording as well.]
Watch a low-quality video of this scene (and others!) below, which starts in Fanny's dressing room...
Fanny’s House with Bobby (Roddy McDowall).
This scene, following the early scene in which Fanny and Bobby leave the theater, showed the two entering Fanny’s home. Bobby went into the living room, turned on the lights, and discovered all of Fanny’s furniture was gone. “What’d they give you for everything? All together?” Fanny welcomed Bobby to make himself a drink at the bar which was “the only piece of furniture left over there.”
Fanny then went upstairs to check on her daughter, Fran, who was asleep. A photo of her ex-husband Nick overlooked Fran’s bed. Fanny, still holding the yellow rose from the theater, touchingly placed it next to Nick’s photo.
Fran & Fanny.
At Fanny and Billy’s wedding reception, Fanny’s daughter Fran locked herself in the bathroom and Fanny knocked on the door, trying to get her to open it. Below is the dialogue from the scene:
Fanny: Fran, baby…
Fran: (from inside bathroom) I’m not going to the party and you can’t make me!
Fanny: It’s so silly, sweetheart. I mean, me marrying Billy is …
Fran: He’s not my father.
Fanny: Of course he’s not your father, darling. Nobody expects you to treat him like your father or even to love him, honey.
(Fran unlocks bathroom door, Fanny enters.)
Fran: Do you love him?
Fanny: In a way. But in a very different way from the way I loved your father. I loved Nick, but I couldn’t live with him. You blame me for losing your father, don’t you? For making him leave …
Fran: Well, I didn’t make him leave.
Fanny: No, honey, you sure didn’t. He loved … He loves you very much. And nobody can take your place with him or his with you.
Fran: Well then why do you have to marry him? Mr. Rose?
Fanny: Because I needed to. I really didn’t need to. And I like him, Fran. Come on, let’s go downstairs and have some fun, okay?
So Long Honey Lamb.
Ben Vereen’s comedic duet with Barbra was shortened. The “long” version was filmed, though.
“So Long Honey Lamb” was a comedic take on the Uncle Tom story about a slave who befriends an angelic girl (Little Eva—played here by Streisand). Eva gets sick and dies, which is what the song is about. “So Long Honey Lamb” can be heard in full on the Funny Lady soundtrack album. Before Ben Vereen (as Tom) started singing, there was some dialogue:
Tom: Well, Little Eva, looks like you’re about to die, hon. Well, look at it this way — You done lived a rich, full life.
Eva: What are you talking about, Uncle Tom? I’m only eight!
Tom: Well, look at it this way, hon — better than seven.
Eva: Well, look at it this way, Tom, it’s worse than nine!
Tom: Well, honey, we’s got nothing to say in these matters.
Eva: What’re you gonna do?
Tom: I’s gonna sing.
Eva: Oh, you’re gonna sing and I’m gonna croak.
(Tom starts singing “So Long Honey Lamb” ...)
After Eva died, the bed levitated toward heaven, then Barbra, with angel wings and harp, flew across the stage.
Norma Butler (Carole Wells) Scenes
Carole Wells portrayed blond starlet Norma Butler. A few of her scenes with Fanny were cut.
In the scene below, Norma catches up with Bobby and Fanny at the New Amsterdam Theatre stage door and shows them her engagement ring. When Norma tells them that “Stevie Silverstein” gave it to her, Fanny asks, “Stevie Silverstein from the Stevie Silverstein movie studios?” Norma then promises to introduce Bobby to Busby Berkley and Fanny to Frederick March. “How about Tuesday?” Fanny responds.
Below: In another scene near the end of the film, Bobby watches Fanny rehearse a Baby Snooks routine. Norma enters and knocks on the recording studio glass to get Fanny's attention. Fanny comes out, and Norma reminds her that it is Friday and asks if she'd like to attend a polo match (i.e. to see Nick). Fanny agrees, goes back into the recording studio.
Below: Norma is at the polo game with Fanny and Bobby when they spot Nick Arnstein on his horse. “Oh, Fanny, you don't think I planned anything, do you?” Norma asks, coyly.
Below: Wells posted these scenes on YouTube:
“All My Life on the Stage” or “Let's Hear it for Me” (Extended).
Streisand recorded and filmed an extended introduction to the last musical number, "Let's Hear it for Me." Beginning in the hotel hallway after she says goodbye to Nick for the last time, the song continued in the hotel lobby as she phoned Billy. The still below shows that the song most likely climaxed inside the theater as Fanny, in the lyrics, tries to reconcile her life on the stage with her romantic life.
Written by Kander & Ebb, "All My Life on the Stage" was a musical prelude to "Let's Hear it for Me" in which Fanny weighed the options of Billy versus Nick. In the video below, Barbra-Archives has combined set stills (taken while Barbra filmed the song outside on a park bench) with other Funny Lady photos in order to recreate the number as closely as possible to what was originally filmed.
Since the real Fanny Brice’s days live on stage in Vaudeville were long past, most people remembered her radio show, which broadcast weekly for over ten years (1944-1951). Brice portrayed “Baby Snooks,” a bratty toddler. Barbra Streisand rehearsed and performed a Snooks routine for Funny Lady, based on real Fanny Brice performances. In the final film just a few seconds of the routine can be heard playing in the background. Then the filmmakers cut to a long shot of Fanny leaving the radio set. Maxwell House Coffee sponsored the show in the film and also did an magazine ad campaign featuring a photographic still of Streisand as Brice standing in front of Maxwell House Coffee cans.
At the train station, after discovering that Billy had slept with another woman, Fanny sat alone on a bench. “Good luck, Billy,” she said to her husband. Then, as Billy walked away, leaving Fanny sitting on the bench, Streisand’s vocal of “More Than You Know” played over the credits.
Bobby & Fanny at Courthouse
After the train station scene, this scene between Bobby and Fanny—getting her divorce papers from Billy—was cut (but filmed):
Above are two stills, probably trims from the film. On the left: Streisand/Fanny rides a horse; On the right: Ben Vereen's (Bert) interaction with Streisand backstage during previews of the Billy Rose show got trimmed.
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