Cinema: Echolalia

Fred Allen once recalled a man whose hobby was collecting old echoes. Composer Jerry Herman easily fits that description; his score for Hello, Dolly! seems to contain the strains of nothing but borrowed melodies. Indeed, even his title song was publicly conceded to be derived from another tune by another man.

The film adaptation of Hello, Dolly! matches Herman's contribution. Michael Crawford playing the young clerk, Cornelius Hackl, self-consciously recalls Stan Laurel. As Horace Vandergelder, the richest and meanest man in Yonkers, N.Y., Walter Matthau is doing Walter Matthau as he used to...

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