Here we are for Gene Kelly’s final MGM musical, the 1957 Les Girls, also starring Mitzi Gaynor, Kay Kendall and Taina Elg.
After publishing a tell-all book on her life, Lady Sybil Wren (Kay Kendall) is sued by a former friend, Angele Ducros (Taina Elg). In court, Sybil relates how the two of them had both been part of a dance troupe called “Barry Nichols and Les Girls.” According to Sybil, Angele had an affair with Barry Nichols (Gene Kelly) while she was engaged to Pierre Ducros. When Pierre showed up unexpectedly, Angele got really flustered during a performance. Angry, Barry broke up with her, and she tried to commit suicide. However, when Angele was given her chance to testify in court, she maintained that Sybil was an alcoholic, and that SHE was the one who had a relationship with Barry. He broke up with her when she prevented him from getting the act booked into an English theater owned by Sir Gerald Wren, her wannabe boyfriend, and then she tried to commit suicide. With two conflicting stories, they bring in Barry Nichols to testify.
The movie barely qualifies as a musical, with only a small handful of songs. The music was written by Cole Porter, in what turned out to be the last movie that he worked on. Most of the songs occur onstage, with “Ca C’est L’amour” and “You’re Just Too Too” being the only ones that occur offstage, one a romantic tune and the other a somewhat comedic duet. Probably the most fondly remembered song and dance from this movie is the song “Why Am I So Gone (About That Gal),” in which Gene Kelly, partnered with Mitzi Gaynor, does a parody of The Wild One. I personally think it is one of the movie’s best moments, and a wonderful routine!
This movie is still a lot of fun. Kay Kendall’s performance as the drunken Sybil seems to be what people enjoy about this movie, and I do agree, she is very hilarious! I will admit, if you are going into the movie thinking that the three stories of what happened will mesh, you might be disappointed, as they don’t. However, the movie does admit to that, with one guy carrying around a sign asking “What is truth?” and you can see the glances shared between Barry, Sybil and Angele at the trial, both before and after Barry gives his testimony, that leave you wondering how accurate his testimony is. But, whatever the case, I think this movie is fun. Not Gene Kelly’s best movie, but still one worth seeing just for the fun of it!
The movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection, and is one hour, fifty-four minutes in length.
My Rating: 8/10