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Posted February 4, 2001
The Films of Barbra Streisand offers 16 superbly written and exhaustively researched chapters of film history and analysis. It also familiarizes the reader with Streisand's extraordinary multi-faceted career and biography. These 40 biographical pages preceding the films section kick off with a striking, previously unpublished 1980s color portrait of Barbra and recount the highlights and seminal moments of Barbra's life and work. From Flatbush to the final concerts at the Garden, this mini-biography focuses on the significant and leaves the gossip and inaccuracies to other less experienced writers. This section has some of the most important and rare Streisand photos, including her very first publicity shot (talk about exotic) and a marvelous untouched Streisand Superman album cover photo. Beginning, of course, with Funny Girl (1968), the book's film chapters average 10 pages, including cast and credit information and 6-7 well-chosen b&w and color photographs. The always pertinent details regarding the development and production of these films will likely surprise you. Moreover, much of it comes directly from Streisand and her fellow actors and creative team. As with the photos, Swenson and Nickens have the experience and know where to locate valuable interview material and expertly weave it into their film essays. Further, the reader can trust their attributions and efforts to place information in the proper context, as the authors know the difference between a 1975 Streisand Today Show interview with Barbara Walters and a 1976 Barbara Walters Special interview. Potentially confounding, the chronologies involved in the various film productions are presented very clearly here and without tedium. In fact, one quickly realizes just how long it typically takes for a film project to reach the screen. The authors make the often rocky road from mere concept to cineplex consistently intriguing and revealing of the ever-changing process, and, above all, explain Barbra's focused dedication and demanding work. The Films of Barbra Streisand offers a unique analysis and in-depth perspective of Barbra's films as only Nickens and Swenson can provide. Their collaborative friendship and interest in creating a definitive illustrated Streisand film history is to the benefit of fans and film historians the world over. The book receives my highest recommendation.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2001