Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Producer Leonard Sillman's 1952 edition of his popular Broadway revue New Faces was filmed just as it was staged, save for a wraparound fictional romantic story. The newly grafted plotline involves the efforts of director Ronny Graham to stave off an angry creditor long enough to open his show. We occasionally cut away to the backstage intrigues, but never long enough to take anything away from Sillman's talented cast of newcomers. The cast includes Eartha Kitt, singing such standards-to-be as "C'est Ci Bon" and "Monotonous"; Robert Clary, doing a medley of his hit "I'm in Love With Miss Logan"; Alice Ghostley, belting forth a brace of satirical torch songs; Paul Lynde (heavier than we're used to seeing him), offering his "safari" monologue and later participating in a screamingly funny Death of a Salesman takeoff; and Ronny Graham, performing an extended lampoon of either Tennessee Williams or Truman Capote (we aren't too sure; judge for yourself). Carol Lawrence also makes her first film appearance herein. The Broadway production's biggest song hit, "Love Is a Simple Thing," is sung and danced to the oversaturation point. Among the many writers was a young fellow by the name of Melvin Brooks (that's how he's billed). Its production flaws and budget shortcomings notwithstanding, the widescreen, full-color New Faces offers a rare opportunity for a 1990s audience to see what a '50s-style musical revue really looked like to the opening-night crowd.
Broadway, director, production [showbiz], musical [play], revue, vaudeville