‘Carol Channing: Larger Than Life,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


She’s a nonagenarian who, when dressed in black, looks a little like a bobble-head with a pipe-cleaner body.

But, at the age of 91, entertainer Carol Channing has amazing energy and a rare spirit for life. As filmmaker Dori Berinstein shows in “Carol Channing: Larger than Life,” Channing is still eager to communicate with a live audience, whether she’s performing in a Broadway benefit, or doing talks where she offers the story of her life and career.

Berinstein has plenty of face time with Channing and her latest (and now late) husband, Harry Kullijian. Indeed, the late-life reunion tale of the couple, who were childhood sweethearts in San Francisco before he went off to military school, is one of the film’s sweetest aspects. They visit the old neighborhood, 70-plus years removed from their childhood days there (“Oh, they painted the house!” Channing exclaims in surprise).

There’s generous archival footage of Channing in “Hello, Dolly!,” a legendary Broadway vehicle that indelibly etched the character of matchmaker Dolly Levi on Channing’s persona. There’s even an old kinescope of Channing performing “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” as part of the original Broadway cast of the show.

The historic witnesses to Channing’s success and popularity generally are the ones who helped her get there:

This review continues on my website.

Back to Top