What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2018) with… Les Girls (1957)

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.

Film Length: 1 hour, 54 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Invitation To The Dance (1956)Gene KellyMarjorie Morningstar (1958)

Anything Goes (1956) – Mitzi Gaynor

Kay Kendall – The Reluctant Debutante (1958)

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Thoughts From The Music(al) Man (2019) on… Anything Goes (1956)

And here we are, ready to dig into the 1956 film version of Anything Goes, starring Bing Crosby, Donald O’Connor, Jeanmaire, Mitzi Gaynor and Phil Harris.

Broadway legend Bill Benson (Bing Crosby) gets teamed up with television star Ted Adams (Donald O’Connor) for a new show.  They are both allowed to choose the leading lady, although they supposedly agree that Bill can pick, before they take separate trips to Europe.  The trouble starts when they BOTH sign a leading lady, when there is only ONE part!  On the boat trip home, they both do their best to keep the gals from learning the truth, while dealing with a new complication: each is falling for the gal the other signed!

For me, most of the fun with this movie is the music (some of the dancing, as well).  The main highlight of this movie, I think, is the song “It’s De-lovely,” as performed by Donald O’Connor and Mitzi Gaynor.  It’s their romantic duet in the movie, done on the ship’s deck.  I enjoy the music itself, and watching them tap dance together is about as fun as I can hope for.

After that, the two songs with just Bing and Donald are probably the most fun.   The songs “Ya Gotta Give The People Hoke” and “A Second Hand Turban And A Crystal Ball” are two new songs for the movie, supplied by composers Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, instead of the original show’s composer, Cole Porter.  Both songs essentially allow Bing and Donald to just do pure comedy, as they ham it up together, and they are quite a lot of fun.

The movie is the second film version of the Broadway show from Cole Porter.  The previous film version, back in 1936, also starred Bing Crosby (and sadly, the ’56 version ended up being the last movie he did for Paramount, the studio that he had worked for during most of his career).  I can’t claim to have seen the ’36 film (although it is one I hope to see at some point), but based on the cast, I assume the movie was a bit more centered on singing.  The ’56 version seems to focus more on the dancing, as three of the four main cast members are primarily dancers (with Bing certainly looking out-of-place because of that).  Whatever the case, though, this is a movie that I enjoy, and I would recommend it to anybody that is interested, as it is a lot of fun!

This movie was available on DVD from Paramount Pictures.

Film Length: 1 hour, 46 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

White Christmas (1954)Bing CrosbyHigh Society (1956)

Singin’ In The Rain (1952) – Donald O’Connor

Mitzi Gaynor – Les Girls (1957)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!