The Way We Were: The Making of a Romantic Classic

Applause Bks. Jan. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781493071258. $36.95. FILM
The Way We Were wasn’t a great movie, but it was an iconic one. In the pairing of superstars Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, it created an incendiary love story. Tensions surfaced early. Arthur Laurents objected to changes in his story made by script doctors. He saw the film as the tale of a dark time in history—HUAC, blacklisting—where the movie as produced focused on a doomed love affair with history relegated to the background. Producer Ray Stark and director Sydney Pollack clashed repeatedly, ostensibly over money and control. Streisand wanted her role—no singing, just acting—as a Jewish radical spanning from 1937 to 1957. But Redford thought the story was “a piece of junk.” Once on set, Redford was laid back, while Streisand, over-preparing, needed to be in control. But on screen together, they were dynamite. Santopietro (Considering Doris Day) admits the film’s flaws: it moves too fast sometimes; connections were lost on the cutting table. But all is redeemed at the end, when Streisand and Redford’s characters meet one last time, show their care for each other, and regretfully part again.
VERDICT This study of the iconic 1973 film will fly off the library shelves.
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