On Streisand: An Opinionated Guide (Hardback)Ethan Mordden (author)
Hardback 216 Pages / Published: 01/07/2019
- Coming soon
This critical analysis of Barbra Streisand looks past the mainstream show-business principal to deconstruct an artist who is in fact a revolutionary figure. For one thing, she pioneered an intense and even passionate singing style at odds with the once prevailing easy-listen manner typified by Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. Further, like Dustin Hoffman and Jack Nicholson she was one of the new wave actors of the 1960s who broke away from the standard models for movie stars. But Streisand has much greater range than others of this kind, as comfortable in musical comedy as in serious drama. Thus, she has moved from the madcap roles of Hello, Dolly! and What's Up, Doc? to the tale of a young woman at war with patriarchal religious fundamentalism (in Yentl) and the insanity hearing of a prostitute who has killed (in self-defense) and whose parents want to put her away to keep her from revealing that her step-father has preyed on her sexually. Further, Streisand has directed three of her films, rare enough for an actor but perhaps especially for a woman. An American Original, Streisand is controversial as well, as all Originals are. Mediocrities may be dull, but they never get bad reviews; Streisand has irritated many a sensibility. As she herself has said, "I'm a liberal, opinionated Jewish feminist-I push a lot of buttons." There is as well the "I'm so wonderful" vanity that has haunted some of her later work, as when she records duets with the rich and famous but isolates herself from them, letting the editing of the tapes bring them together, as if she were an ice princess who might melt upon human contact. Streisand, as her own movie producer, has also been accused of recutting the director's final version to flatter her shots over those of her colleagues. And The Mirror Has Two Faces seems designed to let Streisand direct her own Cinderella tale, not unlike the old Hollywood romances in which the secretary takes off her glasses and the boss cries, "Miss Johnson!...Clarice... Why, you're... you're beautiful!" Nevertheless, Streisand has been, in all, an invigorating artist, not only unique but extraordinary. It would be impossible to imagine what American culture would have been like without her.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 216
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm
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