Trivia for Yentl
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- Barbra Streisand's feature film directorial debut.
- Diane Lane auditioned for the role of Hadass. She later became Barbra Streisand's stepdaughter-in-law when she married Josh Brolin.
- Some reviews claimed that all the songs sounded the same. In response, songwriters Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman said they wanted the songs to reflect the lessons of the Talmud, in which each lesson often reflects the lesson before it.
- The stage play "Yentl" was produced for Broadway. It starred Tovah Feldshuh, opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theater on October 23, 1975, and ran for 223 performances.
- After Heaven's Gate (1980) lost nearly all of its $40 million budget, this movie was almost canceled. Between its starting budget and storyline, studio heads felt it wouldn't sell tickets.
- Norma Atallah, who played the Vishkower family maid, was also Barbra Streisand's stand-in. Streisand had her memorize Yentl's lines and play them while she was setting shots.
- Amy Irving became the first (and, as of 2011, only) actress to be nominated for an Academy Award and a Razzie for the same performance. She won neither.
- Even though costars Amy Irving and especially Mandy Patinkin were known as accomplished singers (by the time he was cast in Yentl, Patinkin had already won a Tony Award for his role in the Broadway musical Evita and would later go on to be nominated for two more musical performance Tonys), Barbra Streisand is the only cast member who performs any songs in this movie musical.
- Steven Spielberg called the film "the best directorial debut since Citizen Kane (1941)".
- For this film, Barbra Streisand became the first woman ever to win the Golden Globe for Best Director. She was later nominated for Best Director at both the Golden Globes and Directors Guild of America Awards for The Prince of Tides (1991). She has to this day never been nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards but handed out the Oscar for Best Director the first and only time it has been won by a woman (by Kathryn Bigelow).
- Yentl's character was meant to be a 26, Streisand was 40 when she played her.
- One of the supporting roles had to be recast when the actor died suddenly; the same actor had been booked as well for The Trail of The Pink Panther and The Curse of The Pink Panther, but was replaced by Harold Kasket.
- WB first announced " Yentl " as a starring vehicle for Barbra Streisand in 1971, with Ivan Passer directing.
- Features Amy Irving's only Oscar nominated performance.
- Though Yentl is referenced as and appears much younger than Avigdor, Mandy Patinkin was only 30 years old at the time and Barbra Streisand was 40.
- Barbra Streisand did not cut her hair for this movie, she wore a carefully made short wig.
- Barbra Streisand hand-picked Mandy Patinkin for this movie, and he politely declined several times because he did not like the script. He was eventually invited to Barbra's house where they could discuss the parts he wanted to change. He then agreed to be in the film.
- Barbra had the movie filmed in long takes without cuts because that's what she was used to with her background in theatre.
- Streisand wanted Ivan Passer to direct Yentl (1983) with her in the leading role, but after reading the screenplay he declined, because he thought Streisand was too old and too famous for the part. Passer also thought the story was too unrealistic and told her, that audiences traditionally never accepted women masquerading as men in movies, reminding her of Katharine Hepburn's disastrous Christopher Strong (1933). While all of Passer's arguments were convincing, Streisand continued to develop the project and would later direct herself. Ironically, it became a big hit. [from: "Barbra Streisand: A Biography" by Ann Edwards].
- In 2020, the UK's BBC 2 ran a restored MGM-UA version of the film, presented in its original widescreen ratio. As the original ratio didn't quite match the 16:9 ratio, this restored version was presented with narrow sidebar columns on the left and right of the uncropped image.
- Barbra has stated that the right side of her face is more masculine, especially because her nose is shaped differently on that side. Due to this, she had most of the scenes where she's a man filmed on the right side of her face. When she reveals to Avigdor that she's a woman, the camera switches to the left side of her face to make her appear more feminine.