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JANE POWELL seems to be enjoying herself in this cheerful little mixture of
music and romance. However, the film itself never succeeds in looking much
more than a low-budget musical with fake RKO sets that belong in a B-movie
rather than a color musical. Despite this, there are pleasant performances
by Jane Powell, Cliff Robertson, Tommy Noonan, Keith Andes and Kaye Ballard
that compensate for a story that's been told before as "Tom, Dick and Harry"
with Ginger Rogers back in 1941 (in B&W and without music).
Jane is just as pert and pretty as Ginger Rogers in the role of a girl who can't decide which man puts her on cloud nine until she finally wakes up at the last moment on the basis of the right kiss. It's all strictly fluff meant to entertain and in its own way it succeeds beautifully, thanks to Powell's effortless charm.
She's also in good voice but is given a number of songs by Blaine and Martin that have no lasting appeal. She delivers them all in a lilting and rich vocal style. Cliff Robertson was obviously a bit ill at ease in his musical sequences but provides a hunky presence as one of her smitten suitors. Tommy Noonan provides most of the comedy relief and Keith Andes has a role he can do virtually nothing with.
There's a rather imaginative American Indian song-and-dance routine that is sure to offend some of the politically correct crowd who can't accept the sort of stereotyping that was done in films of the 1950s. A similar number from ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (and one of the highlights of the MGM film) was cut from the latest Broadway version to placate the PC protesters.
It's the last theatrical film directed by Mitchell Leisen who was then near the end of his distinguished career directing a variety of films. This has got to be one of his lesser efforts but it has a certain charm as the last gasp of the musical era. RKO was virtually at a shutdown by the time the film was completed and it was released two years after being made on the lower half of a double bill.
"The Girl Most Likely" was not only the end of an era of movie musicals, it was the very last musical made at RKO Studios, as well as one of the last ever made at that studio before RKO was sold and turned into DesiLu. This is a great little musical, and for me, Jane Powell's performance in it is second only to "Seven Brides" and "Royal Wedding" She really gives a good performance. Gower Champion's choreography is highlighted with the "Balboa" water/beach dance/song number and it's a classic! The "All the Colors of the Rainbow" sequence , filmed (supposedly) at Olvera Street in L.A. is a bit reminiscent of the dance number Gene Kelly did with the little beggar girl in "Anchors Aweigh" but livlier. Tommy Noonan is featured as her boyfriend until Cliff Robertson wins her heart. Noonan will be remembered as Judy Garland's bandleader-friend in "A Star is Born" three years earlier. Here he is a realtor, always on the move, a characteristic which is the basis for a song number,"Keeping Up with the Jones's" The opening sequence filmed on Balboa's old car ferry has a bit of historic nostalgia to it.
There were quite a few low budget musicals made during the '50s that were mostly insignificant but very watchable because they made no pretense at being "great." "The Girl Most Likely" is one of the more likable. There's some wonderfully exuberant choreography by Gower Champion and the score contains a few songs that any musical would be proud to own. This was a musical remake (as so many of this type were) of Garson Kanin's "Tom, Dick and Harry."
This is one of the last 50s style musical comedies and the final film to present Jane Powell as a singing star. She is supported by Keith Andes, who can truly sing, and comedy by Tommy Noonan and Kaye Ballard. Cliff Robertson's singing is dubbed by Hal Derwin. The songs are only serviceable, even though they are written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, who gave us "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Best Foot Forward". The best musical number, however, is the title tune, actually written by Nelson Riddle, with a vocal by the Hi-Los. Riddle's arrangements, which never seem to date, keep the music interesting. As for the plot, there isn't much of one. As for the comedy, both Noonan and Ballard were better served elsewhere. The choreography, however, is spectacular; this is Gower Champion's first attempt to stage dances for performers other than himself and wife Marge. From here, Champion went to Broadway and became a legend.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This would be the last musical Jane Powell ever made and it's one of her best movies. It was one of the last movies RKO made. They made quite a few films I have liked over the years. She plays the daughter of Frank Cady and Una Merkel(two of the best). Her best friend is played by Kaye Ballard. Jane has three men after her in the movie. First there is Tommy Noonan who loves her from the start. Next Keith Andes takes her fancy. Then finally she sees Cliff Robertson. She thinks she wants to marry a rich man, but she only thinks it's a dream. Jane Powell really looks mature and beautiful in this film. Her voice might be the best here for me because I am not a big fan of her high notes she used to hold in her early movies. I still just love her, she is so likable. Jane jumps into the ocean and meets Cliff. He takes her to shore in his boat. She thinks he owns a yacht. He actually is just a repairman. Cliff really looks in his prime here as well. They have a date that night. Jane looks stunning in a white dress as she comes down the stairs. Cliff instantly falls for her. They have a nice song and dance number on the beach with others. She loses interest in Tommy and then she meets Keith. She makes a date with him. She decides to stay with him until she kisses Cliff one more time. She gets a glow from kissing him and Keith does not give her a glow. She ends up with Cliff. A nice movie and a good way to spend an hour and thirty eight minutes.
This was the end of Jane Powells career in the movies. It's not a very
good movie to end a brilliant career with, but it's entertaining, and
the history of the cast should be mentioned: First we have Jane Powell
who started out in movies as a child performer and made it to big time
which is something that most child actors and actress' couldn't do.
Very few made it such as Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds both born of
April Fools Day, Natalie Wood, just to mention a few. Cliff Robertson
was a known actor but never really made it to star-status. Keith Andes
was a fine singer and had played the lead role in Kiss Me Kate on
Broadway, but never really made it in Hollywood as an actor or the
excellent singer that he was. Kaye Ballard was known for her cukoo
comedy talents and had appeared as one of the Wicked-Step Sisters in
the original Juile Andrews version of Rogers and Hammerstein's
Cinderella on T.V., and played in the Mothers-In-Law on T.V. with the
other Mother in Law Eve Arden. Una Merkel made herself into a star by
playing secondary roles such as Kitty Kelly in The Merry Widow with
Land Tuner and the housekeeper in Rich, Young, and Rretty, again, with
Jane Powell. Kelly Brown appeared in the movie Oklahoma and Seven
Brides for Seven Browthers as one of town-folks line-dancer, but if you
were a dancer you knew who he was, and Tommy Noonan made himself into a
star by playing secondary roles such as Marily Monores dim-witted
husband to be in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but his best role was as the
gum-chewing Pianist in A Star is Born with Judy Garland. In fact,
Noonan showed that he was a fine actor by stealing the last scene from
Judy Garland in A Star Is Born when he tells her how pitiful she's
behaving since Norman Maine had committed suicide, but there is one
person in the line-dancers that's had a history that no one knows
Here's in Cincinnati, Ohio, we have had our share of famous actors and actress' such as Doris Day, Tyrone Power, George Chikarus, Vera Ellen, and a very famous criminal with the initials of C.M. that we don't like to talk about. Harvey Evens is from our area. He had been studying dancing with Harris Rosedale, I know this to be a fact because I was there too, but his name was Harvey Honnacker. I guess he changed his last name to Evans because he couldn't get his last name up in lights. Too long. So, I remember one day he came into the studio and said, "I have nothing here" and went to study with Leo and Rita McNeil. Later he went to New York. Then he went to Hollywood where he did chorus work in The Pajama Game, West Side Story under his original name, and The Girl Most Likely. Later he did the T.V. version of Applause playing the gay hair-dresser and friend of Margo Channing played by Lauren Bacall. Since I knew LeRoy Reams who played the role originally, I asked LeRoy if he had recommended Harvey to play his role, and he said no; that he got it on his own. I'm not sure, but I heard through certain channels that Harvey passed away. What a talent he was. I remember seeing him in a dance recital given by the O'Neils when he was there and he sang a jazzed up version of Indian Love Call and did a dance ending up with his jumping up on the side on stage and back down like James Cagney did in Yankee Doodle Dandy. What a talent he was. It's just a shame he, like many others, were never allowed to show the full power of their talent in the entertainment field!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This musical version of Tom Dick and Harry (1941) is one of the few
remakes which is better than the original, and Jane Powell is the
reason. Her characterization of the title character, Dodie, is far
superior to Ginger Rogers's performance in the first movie.
Directed by Mitchell Leisen with a screenplay by Devery Freeman (based on Paul Jarrico's original, Oscar nominated screenplay), this musical comedy features Cliff Robertson as Pete, a poor boat mechanic, Keith Andes as millionaire playboy Neil Patterson Jr., and Tommy Noonan as Buzz, Dodie's longtime yet unexciting steady who's an ambitious real estate salesman - all three get engaged to Dodie at the same time! Rounding out the cast are Kaye Ballard as Dodie's best friend and co-worker Marge, Kelly Brown as Marge's sailor boyfriend Sam Kelsey, Una Merkel as Dodie's mom, Judy Nugent as Dodie's kid sister Pauline, and Frank Cady as Dodie's father. Joseph Kearns appears uncredited as Dodie and Marge's bank manager boss, Mr. Schlom.
Poor Dodie has always wanted to marry a millionaire, she even jumps off a ferry into the channel near her home hoping to meet one. Through a case of mistaken identity, she briefly believes that boat mechanic Pete is really Neil Patterson Jr., but soon learns otherwise. Still, when she kisses Pete, she experiences a special sensation complete with pink clouds, something she's never 'seen' while kissing her boyfriend Buzz, to whom she'd finally agreed (out of boredom?) to marry ... so she agrees to Pete's proposal as well! Later, when she and Pete 'rescue' the tipsy Patterson Jr., who'd gotten separated from his yacht, Dodie gets to know the young millionaire enough on a cruise to Tijuana that she ends up promised to him as well. Marge, who gets the incredulous scoop from Dodie at work while they're under the watchful eye of Mr. Schlom, also happens to be in Mexico with her nautical boyfriend Sam. In the end, of course, Dodie must decide between her three betrothed and choose her one true fiancé, and future husband.
Songwriters Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane wrote the five songs that Powell and company sing; the Hi-Lo's sing the Bob Russell-Nelson Riddle title song.
This is one of my all time favorite movies. I love the soundtrack and the musical numbers. I bought the soundtrack first and fell in love with music without even knowing what the movie was about. Then I saw the movie and loved it! The cast is wonderful! Jane Powell is beautiful and her voice...amazing! Cliff Robertson, Keith Andes, and Tommy Noonan are great as the intendeds and Kay Ballard plays a great sidekick. The musical number at the beach is so fun and energetic and I love the musical number with Jane and Cliff as an Indian couple with a tribe of kids. It's a delightful, happy movie to curl up to and enjoy. It takes you back to much simpler, innocent days. I love seeing the small California beach towns, such as Balboa, as they were in the 50's. I've looked everywhere to try to find a copy of the movie and I can' t find it. I hope it is re-released someday soon!
The Girl Most Likely - 1958
Jane Powell and the entire cast of this excellent and very enjoyable musical are completely wonderful. The cast just knocked themselves out in order to bring forth a really, really good romantic comedy.
I was very impressed with the way the movie made me feel, which, after all is one of the considerations as to why someone would want to see it. This has the most charming song sequences. I was particularly enamored with the lyrics of the songs, as well as the terrific choreography of Gower Champion. A few of these songs were Jane Powell's character Dodie's daydreams, which are meant to be sparked with humor and fantasy. Several songs are hilarious exaggerations of how someone might daydream when they are trying to crystallize into words, the deepest feelings that they are searching to understand. In light of this, I find the lyrics to be superb. If you see the movie several times, you just have to marvel at the complexity of the way each song is staged, and yet how smoothly the scenes of each song are all put together. These scenes are genius.
When this musical was released, rock and roll was grabbing people's attention, so it did not get the attention that I feel it deserves. In looking back on it, I think that it is one of the most fantastic of productions. The cast, the directing, the staging, and the continuity of the film is something simply amazing. The character, Dodie, was someone in her 20's and so was the actress when she portrayed this role. In the 1950's when this was made, many young women that worked still lived at home until they married, so it is typical of family life in those times. Some were going to college and some were not. The plot does not say that she had not been to college, it simply was not mentioned. All we know is that she was of marriageable age. I love this movie and every thing about it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There is this blonde who meets a man and, oh, mama, falls in love and
gets engaged immediately. Uh-oh. The poor poor blonds forgot that she
was already engaged. Then the blonds meets another guy and gets engaged
for a third time. She forgot again!!! It is so silly, and we laugh and
The poor guys get together and commiserate with her predicament. They are very helpful. They want her to take her time. They just want what is best for her.
No one is offended by her. She is not a slut. She just somehow found herself cheating on three men at once. No one questions her ethics. The men think she is wonderful.
Finally, she chooses one of the men, and then almost immediately double-crosses the poor sap. The final song triumphantly proclaims that the blonde slut has finally found true love.
The movie ends with her speeding away on a boat with the last man she kissed. He is smiling and seems very happy. Perhaps it is because he knows that she won't be able to cheat on him until they hit land.
And maybe, just maybe, he is smiling because he is going to make sure she never gets to land.
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