A filmed performance (in CinemaScope) of the highly popular Broadway hit that was basically a collection of skits, sketches, songs and dances built around a flimsy plot to meld them all ... See full summary »
A filmed performance (in CinemaScope) of the highly popular Broadway hit that was basically a collection of skits, sketches, songs and dances built around a flimsy plot to meld them all together which, for the most part, worked. The plot involves a performer/producer (Ronny Graham)who finds himself in financial difficulties on the eve of opening night because a big check is needed before the curtain can go up. But a wealthy Texan says he will put up the money, if his daughter is in the show and he can see it first. End of plot, but the beginning of the careers of some young and talented people who have had careers across many decades. Ertha Kitt sings four songs, including "C'est Si Bon" and "Santa Baby" in and around some funny skits; "Trip of the Month", "Snake Charmer", "Crazy Man" and "Oedipus Goes South." Graham and Mel Brooks (in his Melvin Brooks days)are credited with most of the sketch material and just the title of the "Oedipus" bit suggests Brooks. There is a burlesque of "... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A 50s Broadway revue is filmed here with a backstage story about needing money to finish the show. The bill collector is locked in a closet and the show goes on.
Many of the new faces went on to stardom and solid careers. Others never made it. Surprisingly, this small show produced a couple of hit songs: "Santa Baby" and "Love Is a Simple Thing." The musical numbers come off better than the skits. The production looks incredibly cheap and the dancing is amateurish. Yet....
It's amazing to see Eartha Kitt sizzle in her musical numbers, using her patented growl to add oomph. She could sell a song with the best on them. Alice Ghostley is terrific (who knew she could sing?) in skits and her solo number "The Boston Beguine." Paul Lynde (looking very heavy) is funny is his skits. Carol Lawrence is mostly a dancer here and has great stage presence. Virginia DeLuce (also known as Virginia Wilson) does well with her ongoing "He Takes Me Off His Income Tax." June Carroll has a shining moment singing "Penny Candy." She also wrote many of the songs for this production. Rosemary O'Reilly get to sing "Love Is a Simple Thing." However, Ronny Graham is way over the top as the show's "star." He comes off as a cross between Jerry Lewis and James Whitmore. Robert Clary is just plain obnoxious and gets ways too much screen time. The rest of the cast gets little to do other than chorus work.
Unbilled and missing from the IMDb cast list are Henry Kulky as the bill collector and Robert Emhardt as the rich daddy.
The film was directed by two men and is pretty bad with static cameras and those annoying shots that show us backstage reactions when performers are singing and dancing.
Trivia: Mel Brooks was one of the writers. Robert Clary was married to one of Eddie Cantor's daughters. Grimes and DeLuce won the 1952 Theatre World awards. Kitt's rendition of "C'est Si Bon" was not in the original show.
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