Directed by: William Friedkin
Starring: Jason Robards, Britt Eckland, Norman Wisdom, Forrest Tucker, Harry Andrews, Joseph Wiseman
The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968) is a surprisingly pleasant early William Friedkin film that (like any number of movies, editor Ralph Rosenblum tried to take credit for “saving”) works far better than so many films trying to depict the 1920s. Oh, the music isn’t exactly period and the sleaze factor of burlesque is a little sanitized (compare this with Rouben Mamoulian’s 1929 Applause), but it’s a game try and the performers aren’t glamorized out of all proportion. It’s a simple work that builds up to the event of the title, but mostly centers on a stage-struck Amish girl (Britt Eckland) who comes to the big city with dreams of being in the theater—and who gains the amorous attentions of a pair of burlesque comics (Jason Robards and Norman Wisdom). There are sub-plots aplenty and lots and lots of reasonably authentic burlesque routines. That last is either a plus or a large dose of tedium, depending on how you feel about burlesque comedy.
The Hendersonville Film Society will show The Night They Raided Minsky’s at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.