The Barbra Streisand Collection
consists of four movies: What's Up, Doc?
(1972), Up the Sandbox
(1972), The Main Event
(1979) and Nuts
In What's Up, Doc?, director Peter Bogdanovich tipped his hat to the classic screwball comedies of the 1930s, and especially the most glorious of them all, Howard Hawks' Bringing Up Baby. Barbra Streisand plays a charming flake who distracts a self-absorbed musicologist (Ryan O'Neal). He's engaged to be married, but soon Streisand's character has him chasing after stolen jewellery and getting into one madcap fix after another. --Tom Keogh
Up the Sandbox springs from the early 1970s, when Streisand's career was in full stride. She stars as Margaret, a stay-at-home mum in the middle of New York who's feeling the strain of her narrow life. Frustrated by her self-involved husband and the mentally unstimulating tasks of motherhood, she escapes into fantasies--such as being chatted up by a cross-gendered Fidel Castro, bombing the Statue of Liberty with black militants and having a furious catfight with her overbearing mother. The movie's strength lies in these fantasies' slippery nature; some are over the top, but others are so subtle you're not always sure where they start and stop, making the portrait of Margaret's psyche intriguingly complex. --Bret Fetzer
The Main Event is a comedic misfire from the mid-1970s, a futile attempt to bottle the same lightning that struck when Streisand teamed with Ryan O'Neal in What's Up, Doc? Here, Streisand plays a spoiled rich girl, the head of a bankrupt cosmetics company, who discovers she's lost everything--except her ownership of the contract of a washed-up boxer (O'Neal). So she tries to rally this dispirited pug into a comeback that will earn the kinds of purses that will put her back on her feet. Naturally, in the process, romantic sparks are kindled. But despite a loud and energetic performance by Streisand, the comedy doesn't add up to much. --Marshall Fine
In Nuts Streisand is a mad high-priced "escort" accused of murder, but whether she's mad as hell or mad as a hatter is the question in this courtroom drama, adapted from the play by Tom Topor. While her doting, wilfully uncomprehending mother (Maureen Stapleton) and stepdad with a secret (Karl Malden) try to have her judged incompetent and sent to an asylum, she fights for her day in court with the help of a hapless legal aid attorney (a refreshingly understated Richard Dreyfuss). James Whitmore presides over the hearing with a compassion and sense of justice that gives one faith in the system, and la Streisand (who developed and produced the project) sinks her teeth into the tempestuous role like a starving actress. The plot holds few surprises, but the drama lies in the characters; veteran director Martin Ritt brings out the best in a top-flight cast. --Sean Axmaker
Barbra Streisand box set. In Peter Bogdanovich's screwball comedy 'What's Up Doc?' (1972) Streisand stars as Judy Maxwell, a carefree young lady who becomes involved with earnest music theorist Professor Howard Bannister (Ryan O'Neal). When Bannister's plaid suitcase, containing geological specimens, is confused for an identical case containing diamonds, a madcap chase across San Francisco ensues - with gangsters attempting to steal back the jewels! In 'Up The Sandbox' (1972) Streisand stars as Margaret Reynolds, a young New York wife and mother with an active fantasy life. As she grows increasingly estranged from her husband (David Selby), she fills her days with various daydreams, including one in which she joins terrorists in an attack upon the Statue of Liberty. In 'Nuts' (1987) high-class prostitute Streisand is arrested and charged with the murder of one of her clients; her parents want her committed rather than face a public trial, but the feisty woman has other ideas in this courtroom drama. Richard Dreyfuss plays the lawyer who works with her to ensure she gets a fair trial. In 'The Main Event' (1979) Streisand is a businesswoman on the brink of ruin. Her one asset is a boxer, played by Ryan O'Neal, who is close to retirement. She decides to personally manage the boxer so that she can manipulate him into making a comeback, and with the money she makes she reckons she can save her perfume business.