Back in the 1950s and 1960s, reviews of Broadway plays held more power than they do now. A bad review from a New York critic could single-handedly sink a play. Conversely, a rave write-up could keep the show on the boards for a long time. Over the years, reviewers treated Samuel Taylor pretty well. His hits—“The Happy Time,” “Sabrina Fair,” “The Pleasure of His Company” and “No Strings”—were all graced with the milk of press kindness and intelligent comment that would warm the heart of any writer. The flops got reviews that would send a playwright to the land of despond and despair. Here are some of the reviews that Samuel Taylor got during his writing career. Click on links to view and/or download full reviews.
In a glowing review, Howard Taubman said that with its “gay, inventive stage garb… [“No Strings”] has been wafted into a shimmering and delightful never-never land.” “No Strings”—New York Times (March 16, 1962)
The New York Times’s Brooks Atkinson wrote, “the play is amusing and civilized all the way through. All the characters have manners and intelligence, and most of them have a sense of humor.” “The Pleasure of His Company”—New York Times (October 23, 1958)
Half a century after it opened on Broadway, “The Pleasure of His Company” was revived in a production at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre, where The Wall Street Journal’s Terry Teachout gave it a fine review. “The Pleasure of His Company”—Wall Street Journal (August 1, 2008)
“Sabrina Fair,” The New York Times said, is “a humorous, romantic comedy that is acted with style and taste, and ought to be in the neighborhood indefinitely.” “Sabrina Fair”—New York Times (November 12, 1953)
Like so many Hitchcock films, “Topaz” is “a cautionary fable by one of the most moral cynics of our time.” “Topaz”—New York Times (December 20, 1969)
When it opened in 1958, “Vertigo” was treated by reviewers as just another Hitchcock thriller—by and large, the reviews were mixed. Over the years, however, its luster has been burnished, to the extent that it is now deemed one of the great movies of all time. The New York Times said the film “is performed in the manner expected of all performers in Hitchcock films. Mr. Stewart, as usual, manages to act awfully tense in a casual way, and Miss Novak is really quite amazing in—well, here is a bit of a hint—dual roles.” “Vertigo”—New York Times (May 29, 1958)