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Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Faces (1954)

Between 1934 and 1968, Leonard Stillman produced a series of revues consisting of comedy sketches and musical numbers called NEW FACES on Broadway which introduced young hopefuls to the New York stage. Among the names "introduced" in Stillman's revues who found fame: Henry Fonda (1934 edition), Maggie Smith (1956 edition), Imogene Coca (1934 edition). This film, the only NEW FACES revue to make it to the big screen uses his cast from NEW FACES OF 1952. Utilizing the wide screen CinemaScope process (perfect for replicating the stage) and stereophonic sound, the film is a mixed bag. The comedy sketches (Mel Brooks was one of the writers) are dated so it leaves the musical numbers to carry the film. The show's break out star Eartha Kitt purrs three of her signature tunes: C'est Si Bon, Monotonous and Santa Baby and the song Love Is A Simple Thing sung by Kitt, Robert Clary and Rosemary O'Reilly became a standard. Aside from Kitt, other cast members who went on to various degrees of fame include Clary (TV's HOGAN'S HEROES), Paul Lynde (BYE BYE BIRDIE and TV's HOLLYWOOD SQUARES), Alice Ghostley (TV's BEWITCHED) and Carol Lawrence, who found fame as the original Maria in WEST SIDE STORY. Directed by Harry Horner. Also with June Carroll, Ronny Graham and Virginia Wilson.

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