Let’s open with trivia: what was the first film to be released on VHS? In actuality, there were 50, all 20th Century Fox titles licensed by Magnetic Video, and Hello, Dolly! was among them. Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau star, and it’s fun to try to spot signs of their mutual contempt. In what turned out to be his last big screen appearance, Louis “One Take” Armstrong’s participation in the titular number took less than four hours to shoot. As late as 2010, swatches of the elaborate set constructed for the blockbuster musical still haunted the Fox backlot, acting as a constant reminder of the picture that almost put the studio out of business. In spite of its cracking the top five box office for 1969, the Dolly lost so much money, Fox could only afford one release for 1970. For those who came to know the film from Wall-E’s use of the show-stopping “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” number, here’s your chance to experience the lavish flop in a theatrical setting. Harry Stradling’s sparkling Technicolor cinematography and John De Cuir’s blank check production design are worth the price of a ticket. Gene Kelly directs.
Length: 2 hours, 26 minutes