Saturday, June 18, 2016

"Funny Lady"

Near the beginning of "Funny Lady" (Columbia, 1975) we're at the New Amsterdam in New York during a Ziegfeld Follies number by Fanny Brice (Barbra Streisand).  It was a back lot set for the theatre exterior but, as we see here, the interior is the Los Angeles Orpheum. We take a walk through the house after the show with Fanny and fellow performer Bobby (Roddy McDowell). "I'm worried," he says. It's closing night for the show, the depression is deepening and Ziegfeld can't get backing for another show.

A lobby view at the Orpheum with Fanny and Bobby and "Pops." He says he'll see her again soon. She tells him to keep cleaning the gum off the seats.

A look out toward the doors onto Broadway. Except they don't want us to see that. When they open, we see another set of doors that they've put up for the film.

 Head to the Orpheum Theatre pages on the Los Angeles Theatres site for photos and history. It's a 2,100 seat G. Albert Lansburgh design still on S. Broadway.  We''ll be back there later in the film.

About a half hour in we're in Atlantic City for a tryout of Billy Rose's show "Crazy Quilt" at the "Casino Theatre." We get this nice balcony shot of an unknown theatre. It almost looks like the Warner Downtown -- which stood in for the New Amsterdam in "Funny Girl" (1968). But not quite. For starters, the boxes and the shape of the orchestra pit are wrong. Any idea where we are?

Still on the road getting the kinks out of  "Crazy Quilt" in some unnamed city when the theatre we're playing turns out to be the Los Angeles Theatre. After a fast pan with Billy Rose (James Caan) running through the lobby, we're up on the mezzanine for a photo shoot.

A run down the stairs at the Los Angeles for a walk through the lobby.

An inner lobby shot at the Los Angeles with  Billy and Fanny.
 A great chance to check out the lobby carpet pattern in in 1975.

Heading down an aisle at the Los Angeles toward backstage. 

Check out the many pages on various areas of the Los Angeles Theatre on the Los Angeles Theatres site. It's a 1931 design by S. Charles Lee.

When "Crazy Quilt" finally lands in New York it plays (of course) the New Amsterdam. We don't see much of the theatre this time around during a big production number -- just a few shots of the audience. But at the end of the number we get this view with a bit of the proscenium showing.

A look at the Orpheum box seats when we're in New York for "Crazy Quilt at the New Amsterdam.

After some dressing room scenes Fanny Brice comes out for a number on a bare stage. But we're not at the Orpheum anymore. It's not known where this was shot.

At the end of the number we get a reaction shot from Billy Rose, who has been lurking in the house. For this shot it's the Orpheum again. When "Crazy Quilt" actually played New York in 1931 it wasn't at the New Amsterdam but at the 44th St. Theatre.

The facade of the Pan Pacific Auditorium appears as the NBC radio studios about 10 minutes before the end of the film. Fanny Brice has just finished an episode of her long-running show and comes out to get in her car. She's in a hurry to see Nicky Arnstein for what turns out to be the last time. "All these years I was just in love with a bunch of toothbrushes" she finally tells him.

See the page on the Pan Pacific Auditorium on the Los Angeles Theatres site for information about the vanished complex.

On IMDb: "Funny Lady"

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