Paris Follies of 1956
Cast & Crew
Showman Dan Bradley prepares for the opening night of his lavish new restaurant/theater in Hollywood which is being backed by a lovable eccentric, Alfred Gaylord, who appears to have unlimited cash. When Alfred visits the dressing room of the show's temperamental star, Margaret Weston, she complains about the quality of her wardrobe and Alfred promises to improve it. Margaret is in love with Dan, but he is enamoured of scenic designer Ruth Harmon and asks her to marry him. However, Margaret tells him that if he is involved with another woman, she will leave the show. Margaret's younger sister Barbara has a job at the restaurant as a cigarette girl, but persuades Dan's buddy, Chuck Russell, to arrange for her to audition for Dan as a potential understudy for her sister. Later, the doors are flung open and a big crowd flows in for dinner and the show. Unfortunately, Alfred's son Jim also arrives to take Alfred back to a sanitarium and explains to Dan that his father is a harmless lunatic who likes to pose as a backer but is totally without funds. Faced with this news, Dan has to hope that his opening night will be a hit and that he can manage to survive. The opening number and Margaret's first solo are hits, encouraging Dan to let Ruth know what their future together will be like. However, Margaret overhears their conversation on a backstage intercom, errupts and quits the show. When Dan risks substituting Barbara for Margaret, Margaret remains in the audience to see her perform, but Barbara becomes petrified with stage fright and is unable to go on. Margaret saves the day when she forgives Dan and agrees to perform, remarking that it may be the first time a star has made good for an understudy. The success of the show suggests that there will be no financial disaster.
Gene Fowler Jr.
A. E. Houghton Jr.
The film's working title was Fresh from Paris. Only the first double reel, running approximately eighteen minutes, was available for viewing. The balance of the plot summary and other information was derived from reviews, the film's pressbook and the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library. The main title on the print viewed was Paris Follies. The title card also included a 1954 Copyright declaration by Ohio Films, Inc., but the film was never registered and was not released until eighteen months after its production in 1954. An opening credit title states that the film was "Photographed at Frank Sennes' MOULIN ROUGE Theatre Restaurant in Hollywood, California. Produced through the facilities of Mercury-International Pictures, Inc."
The Moulin Rouge building on Sunset Boulevard but has changed ownership many times since the 1950s; as of 2003 it is a studio for the Nickelodeon cable television network. The film's Disclaimer Statement includes the following wording: "All events and characters herein mentioned are fictional, except that Frank Parker and The Sportsmen portray themselves, although in a fictional setting." Frank Parker was a tenor who appeared on "The Arthur Godfrey Show," while The Sportsmen were regulars on "The Jack Benny Show."
The final title card at the film's conclusion reads: "Grateful acknowledgment is hereby extended to Mr. Frank Sennes for allowing portions of his Moulin Rouge Theatre Restaurant show to be photographed. General Manager for Mr. Sennes-Lou Clarke, Show Costumes by Madam Berthe, Stage Manager-Alan Bode, Stage Sets and Interior Decor-Harvey Warren, Scenic Artist-Kenneth MacClelland, Wardrobe Mistress-Jean Hipp, Master Electrician-Joseph Privitier."
The 21 December '54 Daily Variety review remarked on the almost total inclusion of Sennes' lavish "Voici Paree" revue but bemoaned the absence of Sennes' noted specialty acts. The PCA file reveals that several production numbers were "toned down" after two representatives of the PCA were invited to see the live show, prior to filming.