You don't have to know who Fanny Brice was to enjoy the musical films "Funny Girl" and "Funny Lady" both starring Barbra Streisand. Brice was a singer and comedienne as well as the creator of the radio personality Baby Snooks. The two musical films focus not only on Brice's career, but two men in her life, gambler/shyster Nicky Arnstein and producer/songwriter Billy Rose. "Funny Girl" illustrates Fanny breaking into the entertainment industry, meeting Nick, played by the dashing Omar Sharif, and becoming a star in the Ziegfeld Follies. "Funny Lady" begins with Fanny anticipating Nick being released from prison, but the reunion doesn't come off as planned. When she meets Billy Rose, played by an exuberant James Caan, the sparks fly from frustration more than romance. However, Rose and Brice were both savvy when it came to entertainment. The business partnership became far more.
While "Funny Girl" has the more famous soundtrack including the song "People," the songs from "Funny Lady" fit better within the story structure. In both films Streisand shows off her comic talent as well as her voice. She even won the Oscar for best actress for her work in "Funny Girl." Though the musicals take liberties with the details of Brice's life, they make a fine tribute to a funny and talented woman.
--Cindy F., Headquarters