50 years of Schenectady’s “The Way We Were” film

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -Actors Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford crossed paths in front of the Nott Memorial of Union College in the movie, The Way We Were. 50 years after the release, the local community is looking back on the romance before its anniversary premiere.

A quick rewind of this classic movie shows some local landmarks in the spotlight. Union’s Chester Arthur Statue and Jackson’s Garden were featured in the 1973 hit.

During the almost two weeks of filming on campus, student extras were paid $15 a day and a chance to be star-struck. “I didn’t have a chance to be on set, but my husband, Marty Zielinski, went with my children right on set and met with Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand,” exclaimed Lois Macerola as a first-time viewer of the film.

The Way We Were was filmed in the surrounding area and Union College in the fall of 1972. Two other schools were scrapped for the setting beforehand.

At the time of release, Variety described it as a “distended, talky, redundant and moody melodrama,” while the New Yorker said the only saving grace was the chemistry of the lead actors. Patricia Gatson, the self-proclaimed biggest fan of Barbra Streisand, remembers it well.

“He was sort of a WASP, an athlete, the character that is, and she played a Jewish activist. Their chemistry was amazing.”

After being nominated for six Academy Awards, The Way We Were won Best Original Song and Best Original Score. “Yes she can sing and yes she can act and yes she can be funny,” described Gatson.

Fast forward 50 years later and Proctors is honoring the film’s premiere with two nights of showings at the GE Theatre. The next one will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 20, 2023.

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