"If he cried for anyone, it was himself" -- Gloria
"Of course. Who else does anyone cry for?" -- Zimmy.
Gloria (Kim Novak) at 36 is known as the last of the New York City showgirls (Novak was actually forty). For thirteen years she has been involved with a frankly terrible but popular singer named Joey Jordan (Tony Curtis). Their marriage keeps being "postponed" for one reason or another. Even though Gloria is easily the most beautiful of the "girls," for the first time in her career she is told to stand in the back row instead of in front. She has an affair with a 24-year-old delivery boy named David (Michael Brandon of Four Flies on Grey Velvet), then Joey comes back from Las Vegas where he's been poking Melanie (Barbi Benton) ... The material was there for a decent picture, but The Third Girl from the Left doesn't quite work. Novak isn't terrible, but she's miscast in this, and while Curtis is more appropriate as a Las Vegas reptile, his character is also a cliche. Dory Previn, who wrote the script, was responsible for a number of sensitive songs with excellent music and lyrics on her albums -- although the theme song for this picture is not memorable -- but aside from some good dialogue now and then, this never really goes below the surface. The relationship between Gloria and David is never believable, with the latter coming off like some creepy witless stalker. The best impression is made by George Furth as Joey's manager, Zimmy. When Zimmy learns that the not-quite-bright Gloria was trying to commit suicide, he says "With an electric stove?" That old vulgarian Hugh Hefner was the executive producer of this, which is probably how his squeeze Barbi Benton wound up in the movie -- she's actually not bad although Kate Hepburn had nothing to worry about. Dory Previn was dumped by her husband Andre for the undernourished Mia Farrow, and wrote several songs about it. Judging from her lyrics, one would have hoped for a much better picture. Peter Medak also directed The Ruling Class and By the Pricking of My Thumbs.
Verdict: A nice idea that goes nowhere. **.