"BARBRA: An Actress Who Sings, Vol. II" by James Kimbrell

"BARBRA: An Actress Who Sings, Vol. II"

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Cool-minded but warmhearted follow-up to the late Kimbrell's first volume of Barbra (1989). Kimbrell died of AIDS as that book went to press, and thus this one has been edited by his sister Cheryl, who has simplified some of his more literary phrasings and mentions only in passing Streisand's second directorial effort, The Prince of Tides, and a new four-CD retrospective album of rare and previously unreleased recordings. Ten years in the writing, the two volumes together have no equal as a midcareer summation of the actress-singer's talents, failings, and successes. Kimbrell has a way of absorbing Streisand's occasional bad press and, without blinking, reversing ""egomania"" or failure into strength of character and a form of success. In fact, the most outrageous attacks on Streisand, by a foaming John Simon--who time and again is bent on equating narcissism with masturbation--become laughably vicious as they inventory Streisand's face and character as summits of ugliness. Even the singer's next-to-worst critics herein admit awe of her talent. Volume two opens with slapstick Streisand in What's Up, Doc?, Peter Bogdanovich's screwball comedy that Streisand did not want to make, felt uncomfortable filming, and has never liked, despite its being her biggest earner compared to costs. As before, the book moves backwards, from 1971 toward the making of her first film, Funny Girl, in 1967. Before Funny Girl was even released, Streisand had finished the massively mounted (and disappointing) Hello, Dolly and was midway through On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Her recording career dipped with the eruption of folk and rock 'n' roll singer-writers, then made a strong comeback as she strove for crossover status from easylistening nostalgia to hooking into the youth market. The real goods, a must for fans.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1992
Page count: 252pp
Publisher: Branden