AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Hello, Dolly!
Director: Gene Kelly (Dir)
Release Date:   1969
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 16 Dec 1969
Duration (in mins):   144 or 148
Print this page
Display Movie Summary


Cast:   Barbra Streisand (Dolly Levi)  
    Walter Matthau (Horace Vandergelder)  
    Michael Crawford (Cornelius Hackl)  
    Marianne McAndrew (Irene Molloy)  
    Danny Lockin (Barnaby Tucker)  
    E. J. Peaker (Minnie Fay)  
    Joyce Ames (Ermengarde)  
    Tommy Tune (Ambrose Kemper)  
    Judy Knaiz (Gussie Granger)  
    David Hurst (Rudolph Reisenweber)  
    Fritz Feld (Rudolph's assistant)  
    Richard Collier (Vandergelder's barber)  
    J. Pat O'Malley (Policeman in park)  
    Louis Armstrong (Orchestra leader)  

Summary: In 1890, Dolly Levi, a widowed New York City Jewish matchmaker, journeys to Yonkers, home of Horace Vandergelder, a wealthy grain merchant whom she would like to marry. Horace wants Dolly to take his niece, Ermengarde, to New York, where the girl will be protected from the attentions of Ambrose Kemper, an impoverished young artist. In addition, he reveals his intention to marry Irene Molloy, a pretty New York milliner, an announcement that inspires Dolly to devise a plan to keep Horace for herself. First, she instructs Ermengarde and Ambrose to escape to New York, hoping they will win first prize in the dance contest given at the elegant Harmonia Gardens restaurant. Upon overhearing that Cornelius and Barnaby, the destitute clerks from Horace's store, are planning to take a day off in the owner's absence, Dolly advises them to visit Irene's shop but not to reveal who has sent them. The girl-shy clerks follow her suggestion and introduce themselves as wealthy sophisticates to Irene and her assistant, Minnie Fay, but their visit is aborted when they spot Horace and Dolly about to enter. The boys hide and conceal their identity, but all marriage potential between Horace and Irene is dissolved when he discovers the two men. Pleased with the outcome of her plan, Dolly persuades Cornelius and Barnaby to take the girls to Harmonia Gardens for dinner and also arranges for Horace to be met there by a new marriage prospect, the heiress Ernestina Simple, who is, in fact, Dolly's actress friend Gussie Granger. Exquisitely coiffed and gowned, Dolly makes a dazzling entrance at the restaurant, where she charms Horace until he is about to propose to her; but he spots Ermengarde and Ambrose on the dance floor. In his hectic pursuit of the couple, Horace incites a ruckus that climaxes when he discovers his two clerks using the melee as an opportunity to sneak away from an unpaid check. He fires them, but Dolly, disgusted by Horace's lack of charity, leaves him in anger. The next morning, however, the merchant repents and gives Ermengarde and Ambrose permission to marry, promotes Cornelius and Barnaby, and finally asks Dolly to marry him, thereby making the matchmaker's scheme a total success. 

Production Company: Chenault Productions, Inc.  
Production Text: Ernest Lehman's Production
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Gene Kelly (Dir)
  Paul Helmick (Asst dir)
Producer: Ernest Lehman (Prod)
  Roger Edens (Assoc prod)
Writer: Ernest Lehman (Wrt for the screen by)
Photography: Harry Stradling (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: John De Cuir (Prod des)
  Jack Martin Smith (Art dir)
  Herman Blumenthal (Art dir)
Film Editor: William Reynolds (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Walter M. Scott (Set dec)
  George Hopkins (Set dec)
  Raphael Bretton (Set dec)
Costumes: Irene Sharaff (Cost des)
  Courtney Halsam (Ward supv)
  Ed Wynigear (Ward)
  Barbara Westerland (Ward)
  Laurence W. Ford & Company (Antique jewelry from)
Music: Lennie Hayton (Mus score and cond)
  Lionel Newman (Mus score and cond)
  Philip J. Lang (Orch)
  Lennie Hayton (Orch)
  Herbert Spencer (Orch)
  Alexander Courage (Orch)
  Don Costa (Orch)
  Warren Barker (Orch)
  Frank Comstock (Orch)
  Joseph Lipman (Orch)
  Jack Latimer (Choral arr)
  Robert Mayer (Mus ed)
  Kenneth Wannberg (Mus ed)
Sound: James Corcoran (Sd supv)
  Murray Spivack (Sd)
  Vinton Vernon (Sd)
  Jack Solomon (Sd)
  Douglas Williams (Sd)
Special Effects: L. B. Abbott (Spec photog eff)
  Art Cruickshank (Spec photog eff)
  Emil Kosa Jr. (Spec photog eff)
Dance: Michael Kidd (Dances and mus numbers staged by)
  Shelah Hackett (Asst choreographer)
  Marvin Laird (Dance arr)
Make Up: Dan Striepeke (Makeup supv)
  Ed Butterworth (Makeup artist)
  Richard Hamilton (Makeup artist)
  Edith Lindon (Hairstyling)
Production Misc: Francisco Day (Unit prod mgr)
  Mollie Kent (Scr supv)
  George Eckert (Dial coach)
  Patricia Newcomb (Public relations)
MPAA Rating: G
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "Just Leave Everything to Me," "It Takes a Woman," "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," "Ribbons Down My Back," "Dancing," "Before the Parade Passes By," "Elegance," "Love Is Only Love," "Hello, Dolly," "It Only Takes a Moment" and "So Long Dearie," words and music by Jerry Herman.
Composer: Jerry Herman
Source Text: Based on the musical Hello, Dolly! , book by Michael Stewart, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, produced on stage by David Merrick, directed and choreographed by Gower Champion (New York, 16 Jan 1964), which was based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder (London, 4 Nov 1954).
Authors: Thornton Wilder
  Michael Stewart
  Jerry Herman
  David Merrick
  Gower Champion

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Chenault Productions, Inc. and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 18/12/1969 dd/mm/yyyy LP38180

Physical Properties: col: DeLuxe
  Sd: Westrex Recording System
  gauge: 35mm & 70mm
  Widescreen/ratio: Todd-AO

 
Genre: Musical comedy
 
Subjects (Major): Clerks
  Employer-employee relations
  Marriage
  Matchmakers
  Merchants
  New York City
  Yonkers (NY)
 
Subjects (Minor): Artists
  Dance contests
  Heiresses
  Impersonation and imposture
  Jews
  Milliners
  Mistaken identity
  Restaurants
  Uncles
  Widows

Note: The film was released in both 35mm and 70mm versions. According to modern sources, Thornton Wilder's play, on which the musical Hello Dolly! was based, was itself based on a 1938 Wilder play The Merchant of Yonkers . The Merchant of Yonkers was in turn based on a Viennese farce. The Matchmaker was also the basis of a 1958 film, also titled The Matchmaker , starring Anthony Perkins, Shirley MacLaine and Shirley Booth, directed by Joseph Anthony.
       Hello, Dolly! received Oscars for Best Art Direction and Best Sound, and received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Film Editing. In 2008, the Walt Disney-Pixar animated film WALL•E included clips of Hello, Dolly! . Within the story, the robot "WALL•E" loves to watch a videotape of the film, especially part of a dance sequence of "Put On Your Sunday Clothes," and the romantic ballad "It Only Takes a Moment," featuring Michael Crawford and Marianne McAndrew. Both the clips and the songs are repeated several times throughout WALL•E , and "Put on Your Sunday Clothes," sung by Crawford, is heard on the soundtrack at the beginning of the film.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Films and Filming   Feb 1970   pp. 51-52.
New York Times   18 Dec 1969   p. 62.
New Yorker   3 Jan 1970   p. 57-58.
Saturday Review   10 Jan 1970   p. 30.
Time   26 Dec 1969.   
Variety   24 Dec 1969   p. 14.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
Advanced Search
AFI Membership
The definitive list of classic American films

© 2014 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.