A down-and-out gangster hires an alcoholic press agent to make his blonde bombshell girlfriend a recording star in 6 weeks. But what is he going to do when he finds out that she has no talent? And what is going to happen when the two fall in love? Written by
Production began on the film in mid-September 1956 just as Jayne Mansfield was finishing up her Broadway triumph in the play "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" The film was made just in time to be released for the Christmas season in 1956. See more »
In Toby Miller's commentary in the 2006 DVD release of "The Girl Can't Help It", he erroneously says that Little Richard is singing the song "The Girl Can't Help It" in his appearance with his band *in the nightclub scene*. Little Richard is actually singing his hit titled "Ready Teddy" in that scene. See more »
Sometimes films which aren't very good as cinema are nevertheless interesting for special reasons. The Girl Can't Help It is a good example. The story, a combination gangster comedy and satire on music business hype, is basically a device on which to hang innumerable leering shots of Jayne Mansfield's astonishing body, including one which has become iconic of 1950s vulgarity: Mansfield chatting innocently away while holding two fresh jugs of milk against her chest. Mansfield is so exaggeratedly curvaceous here that she looks almost like a cartoon -- and in fact this, along with the obviousness of the humor, the stereotyped characters, and even the garish Deluxe color, all reflect director Frank Tashlin's extensive background in animation: the film is as close as you can come to making a cartoon with an ordinary movie camera.
But all these flaws are irrelevant to the film's real value as a precious and glorious record of early rock and roll music: it serves up thick slabs of amazing performances by Little Richard! The Platters! Gene Vincent! Eddie Cochran! Fats Domino! Abbie Lincoln! And several other less well remembered rock acts of the day. Additionally, we get a generous serving of the great pop/jazz singer Julie London, which shows us why she was said to define sultriness.
The film is also interesting as a social document showing the strange, breast-obsessed, puritanical/voyeuristic sexual milieu of the 1950s -- this is the world of "the urban male," which generated Playboy magazine.
The bottom line: all in all a rather silly movie, but a fascinating period piece.
Should you see it? Yes, if you're at all interested in rock and roll.
Advisory: no explicit sex, violence, or bad language, but a lot of leering nudge-nudge puerile sexual innuendo.
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