The Night They Raided Minsky's
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Top Customer Reviews
The film loses focus because of its length and the sheer number of stars. Sometimes it seems Elliot Gould is the star, sometimes, Robardes. But the nominal stars of the film are upstaged by both Norman Wisdom who throws everything into his performance, and the great Bert Lahr, more well-known as the cowardly lion from the Wizard Of Oz, who died during filming. This is not a deep film, but an affectionate (and reportedly accurate) portrait of a time gone by.
"I have a secret recipe
Concocted with much skill
And once you've tried my special dish
You'll never get your fill...
"Take ten terrific girls, but only nine costumes, and you're cooking up something grand..."
The Night They Raided Minsky's is a valentine to the long-gone burlesque houses of the Twenties. Naughty, bawdy and surprisingly innocent, filled with chorus girls who might generously be called a little past their prime, with plenty of belly work, with comedians and their second bananas, with pratfalls, seltzer bottles and song and dance acts. This Norman Lear/William Friedkin/Ralph Rosenblum movie has it all. It even has a story. Most of all, it has some great songs by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, wonderful performances by Jason Robards and Norman Wisdom, and a collection of pungent characters played by the likes of Elliot Gould, Forrest Tucker, Bert Lahr, Harry Andrews, Joseph Wiseman, Jack Burns, Denholm Elliot and Dexter Maitland. And we're there when history is made, as Britt Ekland playing an innocent Amish girl from Smoketown, Pennsylvania, who longs to perform her Bible dances on stage, inadvertently invents the strip tease.
Billy Minsky runs Minsky's Burlesque. Vance Fowler, secretary of New York's Society for the Suppression of Vice, is determined to close it down. Then Rachel Elizabeth Schpitendavel shows up. She's young. She's innocent. She's built. She catches the eye of headliner Raymond Paine (Jason Robards), a song, dance and straight man who works with his second banana, the small, mild and fall-down physical Chick Williams (Norman Wisdom). Paine wants Rachel to fall into his bed.Read more ›
This was William Friedkin's second feature and not a happy one and he was very much relieved when shooting was completed and he could "escape" to London to direct his next, "The Birthday Party".
According to United Artists chief David Picker on viewing the first cut: "In all my years in film, this is the worst first cut I've ever seen." It was up to film editor Ralph Rosenblum to save the film, resulting in a pain staking year of re-editing and re-working the entire film. The end result was well worth the wait. For a fascinating and extremely comprehensive study of Rosenblum's monumental work on this film and many others. try to obtain a copy of his book co-written with Robert Karen: "When the Shooting Stops" (NY: The Viking Press, 1979).
Originally Tony Curtis was to play the Jason Robards character but opted out due to script concerns and more importantly, the opportunity to portray "The Boston Strangler". Then, according to producer Norman Lear it was to be Walter Matthau but he bowed out due to family issues. Friedkin states in his recent autobiography that Alan Alda and Joel Grey were to star but that idea was scuttled when neither could get out of their Broadway contracts, appearing respectively in "The Apple Tree" and "Cabaret".
Eventually it was Robards and British comedian Norman Wisdom who got to star and they are first rate and their burlesque routines are fabulous. Wisdom is especially fine and so good that I wish there had been more of their acts and less of some of the other elements in the film.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
minsky's is a classic! it also supposedly was the first burleeque to start stripping. Waiting for it to come to amc or spike or another tv station to show it is far and few... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I remember this movie from when I was a teenager. I met a girl for the first time the next day and the actress soooooo resembled this girl that I was absolutely struck down (in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Randy G.
What a delightful movie. No violence NOT a huge plot but very entertainingPublished 12 months ago by J. Rosenfeld
This is not a movie with a great storyline or superb acting. It is a magnificent piece of nostalgia. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jim Tarleton
Save your money. Lousy cinematography, overuse of camera closeup gags, poor continuity, film vacillates between color and black and white which becomes annoying. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Brian D. Zachel