Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: TBD

The Night They Raided Minsky's Details


Narrator [[Performer~P72689~Rudy Vallee~rudyvallee]] announces that he knows we are a "real high class audience," thus he has "some swell story to tell." Thus begins The Night They Raided Minsky's, set in the rarefied world of burlesque in the 1920s. Amish girl Rachel Schpitendavel ([[Performer~P21438~Britt Ekland~brittekland]]) comes to New York in hopes of securing work as a dancing interpreter of religious stories. She gets a job at Minsky's burlesque house, where the dance numbers are "Biblical" only when some gum-chewing stripper performs Salome's Dance of the Seven Veils. The many subplots leading up to Rachel's accidental invention of the striptease during a midnight Minsky's show involve many: top banana Chick Williams ([[Performer~P117115~Norman Wisdom~normanwisdom]]) and womanizing straight-man Raymond Paine (Jason Robards Jr.); Billy Minsky ([[Performer~P27972~Elliot Gould~elliottgould]]), whose efforts to stage girlie shows at the National Winter Garden are looked down upon by Minsky Sr. ([[Performer~P77065~Joseph Wiseman~josephwiseman]]), who holds the lease on the theater; gangster Trim Houlihan ([[Performer~P72035~Forrest Tucker~forresttucker]]), who intends to shut down Minsky's if he can't get a piece of the action; Ekland's preacher father [[Performer~P1716~Harry Andrews~harryandrews]], who shows up in New York just in time to see his daughter bare all in front of a cheering audience; and Vance Fowler ([[Performer~P21589~Denhom Elliot~denholmelliott]]), self-appointed protector of public morals, whom Paine hopes to embarrass by having Rachel perform her religious dance. A straightforward adaptation of Rowland Barber's novel The Night They Raided Minsky's would seem to be called for here, but novice director [[Performer~P90583~William Friedkin~williamfriedkin]] and film editor [[Performer~P108927~Ralph Rosenblum~ralphrosenblum]] seem determined to turn the film into a kaleidoscope [[Feature~V21522~Hard Day's Night~aharddaysnight]] clone. Happily, producer [[Performer~P99070~Norman Lear~normanlear]] is able to accommodate several nostalgic re-creations of such burlesque chestnuts as "Crazy House" and "Meet Me Round the Corner," as well as six delightful in-period songs penned by [[Feature~V151381~Bye Bye Birdie~byebyebirdie]]'s [[Performer~P113082~Charles Strouse~charlesstrouse]] and [[Performer~P157936~Lee Adams~leeadams]], the best of which is the ribald "Perfect Gentleman." [[Performer~P40018~Bert Lahr~bertlahr]] makes his last appearance on screen in the role of washed-up funnyman Professor Spats; he died during production, and had to be extensively doubled throughout. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Jason Robards, Jr.
as Raymond Paine
Britt Ekland
as Rachel Schpitendavel
Norman Wisdom
as Chick Williams
Forrest Tucker
as Trim Houlihan
Harry Andrews
as Jacob Schpitendavel
Joseph Wiseman
as Louis Minsky
Denholm Elliott
as Vance Fowler
Elliott Gould
as Billy Minsky
Jack Burns
as Candy Butcher
Bert Lahr
as Prof.Spats
Gloria Le Roy
as Mae Harris
Eddie Lawrence
as Scratch
Dexter Maitland
as Duffy
Chanin Hale
as Valerie
Ernestine Barrett
as Minsky Girl
Kelsey Collins
as Minsky Girl
Marilyn D'Honau
as Minsky Girl
Kathryn Doby
as Minsky Girl
Joanna Lehmann
as Minsky Girl
Dorothea MacFarland
as Minsky Girl
Billie Mahoney
as Minsky Girl
Carolyn Morris
as Minsky Girl
Rudy Vallee
as Narrator
Herbie Faye
as Waiter
Judith Lowry
as Mother Annie
Richard Libertini
as Pockets


William Friedkin
Bud Yorkin
Norman Lear
Norman Lear
Sidney Michaels
Rowland Barber
Book Author
Arnold Schulman
Ralph Rosenblum
William Eckart
Production Designer
Jean Eckart
Production Designer
George Justin
Associate Producer
Burtt Harris
First Assistant Director
Danny D. Daniels
Pablo Ferro
Second Unit Director