Top Banana

  • 1954
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Musical

This version of the Broadway musical breaks all the cinematic rules but still manages to provide fine entertainment. Shot on what appears to be a stage like that of New York's Winter Garden Theater, where the show actually ran, they just let the cameras roll and allowed the many fine comics to have their moments. Silvers is a manic-depressive, egotistical...read more

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This version of the Broadway musical breaks all the cinematic rules but still manages to provide fine entertainment. Shot on what appears to be a stage like that of New York's Winter Garden Theater, where the show actually ran, they just let the cameras roll and allowed the many fine

comics to have their moments. Silvers is a manic-depressive, egotistical TV comedy star who bears more than a little resemblance to Milton Berle at the height of his career. When his ratings begin to droop, Silvers is ordered to add some young people to his show as a love interest. He hires Judy

Lynn, a sales clerk, and Danny Scholl. Silvers finds himself falling for Lynn, but she is nuts about Scholl. The usual complications occur with Albertson, Silvers' harried aide, trying to smooth matters over. In the end, the lovers get together, and the TV ratings soar. It's a long burlesque

sketch with many of the best low-comedy faces in the business, like Joey and Herbie Faye, the marvelous Walter Dare Wahl, and Johnny Trama. One of the dancers was Emmaline Henry, who later starred with John Astin and Marty Ingels on TV's "I'm Dickens, He's Fenster." Hy Kraft wrote the book for the

play, and Gene Towne did what little film adaptation was needed. Mercer, who usually only wrote lyrics, did the music as well. The songs included: "If You Want to Be a Top Banana," "My Home Is in My Shoes," "I Fought Every Step of the Way," "A Word a Day," "Sans Souci," "Only if You're in Love,"

and "The Man of the Year This Week." Both Ron Sinclair and Ron Fletcher are credited with the dances in different sources, and we can't tell you which is correct. The term "Top Banana" refers to the number-one comedian; his stooges are called "second bananas." The expression may have come from the

water-filled bladder-like club that comedians used to hit each other over the head way back when. The lack of any true motion picture values hurts the picture, giving it the appearance of an old-fashioned TV kinescope, but Silvers has such energy that he transcends any production problems. A lot

of fun and squeaky clean.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This version of the Broadway musical breaks all the cinematic rules but still manages to provide fine entertainment. Shot on what appears to be a stage like that of New York's Winter Garden Theater, where the show actually ran, they just let the cameras ro… (more)

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