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Trivia / Hello, Dolly!

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  • Box Office Bomb: The film. Budget, $25 million. Box office, $26 million (rentals), $33.2 million (box office total). Ultimately lost $10 million.
  • California Doubling: The scenes set in turn-of-the-last-century Yonkers, New York, were actually filmed a few miles up the Hudson River, in Garrison, NY. Yonkers was recreated by putting false fronts on the existing buildings of the small village. The final wedding scene and reprise were shot at the Trophy Point monument and overlook of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.
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  • Colbert Bump: Generally regarded as one of the lesser musicals of the period, but it was immortalized by its use in WALL•E. Incidentally, both songs used in the film were peformed by Michael Crawford.
  • Creator Killer: After the theatrical adaptation bombed and The Cheyenne Social Club failed with critics, dancing great Gene Kelly never sat in the director's chair for another theatrical film for the rest of his life.
  • Cut Song: "Penny in My Pocket," the original Act One closing number, sung by Horace; when Jerry Herman realized audiences cared more for Dolly than Horace at that point in the story, he replaced it with "Before the Parade Passes By." "Penny" was, however, restored in the revival, but this time as the Act Two opener.
  • Fake American: English Michael Crawford as Yonkers New Yorker Cornelius.
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  • Genre-Killer: While the film eventually recouped its losses on home video, it's failure was ultimately the final nail in the coffin for lavish, big-budget live-action Hollywood musicals, as film language was then being redefined as more gritty and literal, making campy musicals a harder sell. Movie musicals have since been few and far between.
  • Hostility on the Set:
    • Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau didn't get on at all. He disliked her so intensely that he refused to be around her except when required to do so by the script. He is famously quoted as telling Barbra that she "had no more talent than a butterfly's fart". He even refused to kiss her for the final scene, so a variation of clever angles and long distance camera shots were able to create a convincing kiss where their faces come close together without actually touching their lips. Interestingly, he is clearly in the audience at Barbra's One Voice concert at her Malibu ranch from 1986, where invitation-only guests paid $5,000 per couple to help establish the Streisand Foundation, which supports numerous charitable organizations. Apparently, he did not hold grudges.
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    • On a break from filming, Matthau and Michael Crawford visited horse races nearby and saw a horse named Hello Dolly. Matthau refused to place a bet on it because it reminded him of Streisand, whom he detested. Crawford placed a bet on the horse. It won the race and Matthau would not speak to Crawford for the rest of the shoot unless absolutely necessary.
  • Old Shame: When Barbra Streisand appeared on Inside the Actors Studio, she was reluctant to discuss the film other than to acknowledge that she had been far too young for the part of Dolly and should never have accepted it.
  • Prop Recycling: In the Harmonia Gardens, the back wall behind the hat-check girl is the wall from the ballroom of the Von Trapps Villa in The Sound of Music.
  • Throw It In!: An alternate take of Dolly running off to the parade, in which Barbra Streisand holds onto her hat to keep it from falling off, made it into the 35mm prints, and the home video releases sourced from them. The 70mm prints, and the home video releases sourced from the 70mm negative, instead show Dolly holding onto her dress.
  • What Could Have Been: An A&E Biography revealed a screen test where Ann-Margret could've played Irene. Elizabeth Taylor, Doris Day, Shirley MacLaine, and Julie Andrews were considered for the role of Dolly.

  • Hello, Dolly! is the very first Hollywood film to be issued on VHS.
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