The Way We Were
Release year: 1973
Director: Sydney Pollack
Screenwriter: Arthur Laurents
Starring: Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Bradford Dillman, Lois Chiles, Patrick O’Neal, Vivieca Lindfors, Diana Ewing
Ratings: 2 Oscars: Best Music, Best Song. 4 Oscar nominations: Best Actress (Barbra Streisand), best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design. 1 Golden Globe: Best Song. 1 Golden Globe nomination: Best Actress Drama (Barbra Streisand).
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #258, week 22 2019
Katie (Streisand) and Hubbell (Redford) are very much in love, but their differences, especially in politics, threatens to drive them apart.
Pollack’s (Tootsie, 1982) Oscar winning romantic drama has been called one of the greatest romantic films ever but is perhaps most of all known for it’s Oscar winning song ‘The Way We Were’. Arthur Laurents wrote the story based on his own college experiences and told partly in flashbacks it follows the love story of two very different people over several years. The story is melodramatic and at times feels like it jumps over crucial scenes, but the acting delivered from the leading stars are amazing. Redford (All the President’s men, 1976) is great but doesn’t get as much to work with leaving him sadly overshadowed by Streisand (A Star Is Born, 1976) when he should have been a just as important character. But luckily Redford has plenty of screen presence and still make a strong impact, even though it is Streisand’s feisty Katie you notice most. A plus is the way the movie tells the ups and downs and maintain a realism throughout the love story, the downside is it affects the emotional impact, especially as the ending feels rushed and strangely unexplained to the audience. The Way We Were is undoubtedly a good and interesting movie, but the greatest romantic movie ever made? Hardly.
Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford had very different approaches to acting. Streisand liked to analyze the part at length and rehearse a great deal, while Redford was more of an intuitive actor, preferring to be more spontaneous. According to Sydney Pollack, “Barbra would call me up every night at nine, ten o’clock and talk about the next day’s work for an hour, two hours on the phone. Then she’d get in there and start to talk and Bob would want to do it. And Bob felt the more the talk went, the staler he got. She would feel like he was rushing her. The more rehearsing we did, she would begin to go uphill and he would peak and go downhill. So I was like a jockey trying to figure out when to roll the camera and get them to coincide.”
One of the first Hollywood productions to tackle the blacklisting during the McCarthy era which had profound repercussions for the Hollywood community in the late 40s and early 50s.
Arthur Laurents fought to keep the line, “People are their principles” in the film. He argued that the line was “the point of the whole scene, the political point of the whole picture.”
Picture copyrights: Sony Pictures