Norman Lear’s period peek at a peculiarly American form of entertainment – burlesque – is most successful in its art direction and nostalgic recapturing of New York’s lower East Side during its most hoydenish period.
So easily does Norman Wisdom dominate the many scenes he’s in, that the other cast members suffer by comparison, particularly leading man Jason Robards, who’s cast as the top banana in the Minsky burlesque theatre.
One fault with this highly-colorful and fast-moving comedy film is that it jumps about so much in its story-telling. Characters are introduced, then never developed.
Lear was able, during NY location filming, to talk the city into forestalling the demolishing of an entire block on the East Side until he had used it for background footage.
Britt Ekland is lovely as the Amish girl who not only rebels against the restrictions of her religious background and a tyrannical father, but does so with a strip sequence that titillates the screen audience almost as much as it does the on-screen audience.