#72 | Yentl: Master of Disguise

by | Jul 6, 2018

Listen to our Yentl episode on:

What’s the audience crossover between Barbra Streisand musicals and the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Apparently not negligible, given the multiple Yentl references slipped into the recent blockbusting Deadpool sequel. The irreverent meta-comedy isn’t the first mainstream movie to appreciate a good Papa, Can You Hear Me joke either – in fact, for a 35 year old musical on the fairly uncommercial subject of a cross-dressing Jewish girl’s quest for learning in 19th century Eastern Europe, Yentl has become a surprisingly reliable cultural touchstone.

Even if not a lot of people have actually sat down and watched the movie, a lot of the recognition factor is probably inextricably tied to the public perception of its creator. Yentl was a true passion project for Barbra Streisand, who spent thirteen years attempting to get the movie made, and ultimately co-wrote, directed and produced it in addition to appearing in practically every frame. For better or worse, Yentl presents the Barbra Streisand experience in its purest form.

To Streisand’s credit, Yentl defied expectations to become a success with both critics and audiences. It was warmly reviewed and nominated for five Oscars, with Steven Spielberg hailing the movie as ‘the greatest directorial debut since Citizen Kane’ – although it should be noted that his then-girlfriend Amy Irving played the second female lead in the film, so he may not have been entirely free from bias.

In the penultimate episode of our Sing Your Way To An Oscar! mini-season, we look back at the movie and examine how well its curious take on gender politics and intentionally repetitive musical score hold up three decades later. We also pitch some modern day sequel ideas, begging the surprisingly difficult question – who could possibly step into the shoes of the now 76-year old Streisand?

You can download or stream this week’s episode of Beyond The Box Set for free using the links at the top of this blog post – or by searching ‘Beyond The Box Set’ on your preferred Podcatcher. If you enjoy the show please subscribe and leave us a review – it helps us enormously in finding new listeners. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and become a VIP Listener on Patreon for as little as $2 per month to gain access to a whole host of bonus content.

Next week, we conclude our season on musicians turned actors with a very special look back at one of the most iconic cult hits of the 80s. Until then – happy listening!

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