The Way We Were


D: Sydney Pollack

Columbia/Rastar (Ray Stark)

USA 1973

118 mins


W: Arthur Laurents [based on his novel]

DP: Harry Stradling, Jr.

Ed: John F. Burnett & Margaret Booth

Mus: Marvin Hamlisch

PD: Stephen Grimes

Cos: Dorothy Jeakins & Moss Mabry

Barbra Streisand (Katie Morosky), Robert Redford (Hubbell Gardiner), Bradford Dillman (J.J.), Lois Chiles (Carol Ann), Viveca Lindfors (Paula Reisner), Patrick O'Neal (George Bissinger)

The Way We Were is considered by many to be a romance classic of the 1970's, but I have to admit that I really didn't care for it at all. To me, this was just glossy Hollywood schmaltz with two characters I didn't particularly care for, and therefore I couldn't care less if they ended up together or not as their story is told from the late 1930's and over the course of a decade.

I found Barbra Streisand's character of Katie Morosky particularly irksome. A left-wing political activist who calls people fascists if they don't agree with her opinion, falling in love with the more conservative jock from her college, Hubbell Gardiner (Robert Redford), which is very much a case of wanting to have her cake and eat it.

From the offset, it's clear as day that this couple are completely incompatible with each other, so it's no surprise that they clash over each other's ideologies and politics over the course of the movie. It just seems she wants to be with him because she wants "pretty babies".

The positive aspects of the film does come from Sydney Pollack's direction, and the performances of the ensemble cast despite them playing characters I didn't like. The attention to the period is also fine, as the sets and costumes do hark back to the 1930's & 40's.

Perhaps the movie found its success through its music, which went on to win the Oscars for Best Original Score & Best Original Song, especially since the title song is incredibly well known.

Like 1970's Love Story (qv), I guess this is a film which had to be experienced at the time of release to truly appreciate.


Robert Redford & Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were
Robert Redford & Barbra Streisand in The Way We Were