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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE

A TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

By D.E.Levine

Director Dori Berntein once again gives us an exceptional documentary.

Carol Channing's fame as a performer is known around the globe. An exceptional looking woman with comedic timing and an easily identifiable singing voice, Channing has been a Broadway mainstay for over 60 years.

Now 91, there's nothing ordinary about Channing, who delights in childlike glee over life, love and her incredible show business career.

Reading her biography is interesting but hearing Channing tell her stories of life on the stage is funny, just like she is and evidently has always been. Bernstein has created a love letter of sorts, but it only skims the surface.

Even with out the artificial platinum wig and false eyelashes we never really get to know Carol herself. She tells delightful anecdotes, infuses humor into almost everything, and is now considered a grand old dame of the theater - but the Carol we see is very much the actress she invented.

The film is delightful to watch, upbeat in every way, but we never really get to know Carol Channing.