Monday, February 21, 2011

Barbra Streisand in Up The Sandbox (1972)

Obscurity factor: 6

This is the second film in Brini Maxwell's Obscurity Factor Screenings at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas, here in New York. It will screen a week from tonight on February 28th at 7pm. Join us if you can!

This is a strange film. It's a very personal account of the inner landscape of a housewife and mother in New York in the early 1970's. Margaret Reynolds is bored. Bored with her husband, her friends, her life... She's so bored that she can't keep her mind from wandering into outlandish and outrageous fantasies about meeting Fidel Castro, mortal combat with her mother and taking part in black power domestic terrorism. These fantasies are blended into the storyline so seamlessly that you're not sure they're fantasies until they really get going. Among the forays into the netherworld we get a good dose of Margaret's life - her relationship with her family, her insecurities, her fears about having another child and her desire for deeper meaning in her life. All this adds up to an intimate portrait that is all the more interesting for the cultural references from the era. Look for TV veterans Isabel Sanford, Conrad Bain and Paul Benedict in small roles and for Stockard Channing playing a uncredited part in this, her first film.

This film was not well received when it was released, however time has given it a period perspective that adds luster to it. It was released on DVD a few years ago as part of the Streisand Collection and though it's no longer in print, there are quite a few copies still available. You can also find clips of it on YouTube, though the whole film isn't uploaded. Above is the trailer, uploaded by lewylewel.The poster above is available at

Obscurity factor: 6 (on DVD, largely forgotten to all but hard core Streisand fans)


  1. The shot of Streisand in the hospital gown, sitting in the center of the sandbox was forever burned into my psyche from the time I first saw it as a kid. The adult, forever grappling for their inner child maybe??? Who knows...

  2. She's so alone in that shot. It's kinda scary.

  3. Yup, I need to see this. It looks good :)

  4. I finally go to watch this today. I liked the film, but in some ways it became quite predictable after a while.

    Her anxiety seemed to bring out illusions or daydreams. Some were very funny. Her frustrations with her mother were very entertaining :)

    I loved it all in all. I'm glad I bought it and will try and watch it again in the near future. Maybe I'll see stuff that I didn't see today. After all, my uncle seemed to want to talk to me a few times while I was watching it.

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing your reactions to it.

  6. @Michael Stever
    I'm looking at that shot right now.

    Where in the city is that sandbox?

    Does anybody know, please?

  7. I think all the park scenes in the film were shot in Riverside park on the west side in the 90's or 100's...

  8. Thanks, Ben!

    Y'know -- it's funny ....

    While it's way cool to hear that since I'm just right across the street -- and you can bet I'm gonna do a bit of searching now! lol -- I can't help but be reminded of the ironic coincidence the locale has, as it's also the place [the RSD area] where Bawbwa made such a stink while making "The Mirror Has Two Faces". We "couldn't" get into our building at times, had to ask for "permission" to cross the street & on & on .... I even got into it with a PA as my daughter was minutes away from puking but we had to duck into an out-of-the-way alcove instead of, Heaven forbid, using my own bathroom. Ah, showbiz.