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Movie Mom

Wall∙E’s curiosity about the world and capacity to feel loneliness is part of what makes him such a vivid character in Pixar’s latest hit. And nothing in the film conveys those qualities more effectively than his affection for the 1969 movie musical Hello, Dolly! It may be quaint and stylized but it perfectly suits the storyline, especially the numbers we see Wall∙E watch, with the characters singing about taking chances, trying out new experiences, and falling in love.”Hello Dolly!” was not successful on its original release. It was the victim of poor timing. First, though it was filmed earlier, the release was delayed because by contract it could not be in theaters as long as the play was running on Broadway. Second, it was released in 1969, when audiences were caught up in the political and cultural turmoil of the 60’s, and it felt too big (it is over two hours long) and out of touch. There was also some hostility to the casting of the 20-something Barbra Striesand in the title role, a character who is supposed to be middle-aged, replacing the star of the play, Carol Channing. But today it is easy to be as charmed as Wall∙E is by this story of four different couples taking a chance on love and the character who encourages them all and then has to learn a few lessons herself. Here are his favorite numbers:And enjoy this clip of star Michael Crawford (later the title character in Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera”) explaining how he got the part.

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