Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Elg, Kendall and Gaynor
LES GIRLS (1957). Director: George Cukor.

Retired dancer Lady Sybil (Kay Kendall of Wings of Danger) has written a book about her life in which she claims that a former colleague, Angele (Taina Elg), attempted suicide out of her unrequited love for their boss, Barry Nichols (Gene Kelly). Angele is outraged -- and so is her husband, Pierre (Jacques Bergerac of The Hypnotic Eye) -- so a libel suit results. Most of Les Girls consists of flashbacks
"Wild One" Kelly and his Leather Boys
as Sybil tells her story, then Angele tells hers, and finally Barry comes into court to tell his side of things. Les Girls has an interesting hook with the libel suit, but the script becomes increasingly stupid with each section, and even Cole Porter's songs are second or third-rate for this composer. The film's highlight is a sequence when Kelly walks in with a gang of motorcycle toughs and does a splendid dance number with Mitzi Gaynor [The Joker is Wild], but most of the production numbers are disappointing. Kelly and the ladies are all excellent, however. Henry Daniell plays the judge presiding over the case and Patrick Macnee [The Avengers] is one of the lawyers; Leslie Phillips is Kendall's husband. In CinemaScope and Metrocolor. This was Porter's last film score, and Kelly's last MGM musical. 

Verdict: Cute but unremarkable. **1/2. 


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angelman66 said...

Hi Bill - I agree totally with your assessment...with such a fabled cast and composer, it is surprisingly unremarkable and forgettable. Kelly looks like he should retire here, a little weary. I love the late great Kay Kendall though; she is the saving grace of the film. Mitzi Gaynor doesn't sparkle as much as she usually does. The MGM musical was past its heyday, I guess!

William said...

Kelly had just been divorced by Betsy Blair, who found a new lover and wanted a different life, and Kelly was pretty downhearted, which may be why he seems weary. He probably knew it wasn't a great script either. Except for their dance together, Gaynor is okay but does't shine.

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