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This DVD belongs to the Warner box-set. Actually, it's a gift from my
late colleague who retired from work. As I thanked her, I said that she
chose finely because it would be the oldest movies I would reviewed and
they are classics that worth discovering.
But I was afraid that they could be boring. In fact, dance and me are like dogs and cats: Personnaly, I don't dance (but neither have been invited either)and I can't stand watching dance nowadays: video clips degrade this art. But as soon as I watched the documentary bonus "Gene Kelly: anatomy of a dancer", I admit that I was wrong.
Gene is the kind of people that draws my admiration: hardworking, righteous, blue-collar but classy and above all, compassionate. He succeeds in making me appreciate his art and it has been a incredible feat.
"The Girls" is a fine movie. Its story uses a guaranteed funny trick: same events told by different people. (See the X-Files episode "Bad Blood" from the fifth season for another example). As the characters live in the same building, they built a sort of community that it accurately depicted because I lived this experience too. The musical sequences being light, it's more a comedy with music than a musical with humor.
In conclusion, follow me and discover this old movie as well!
This is an enjoyable and good late MGM musical.
This is a good genre movie, from genre specialist George Cukor, with all of the typical and formulaic elements present in it. It's cheerful looking and slightly over-the-top, like it should be. The story is of course once more about love and the musical business.
The story might sounds formulaic and simple but it is yet the story that makes this movie distinct itself from other genre movies and make this an original one. The story is told from three different point-of-views in a courtroom, after each other. The storytelling is obviously inspired by Akira Kurosawa's "Rashômon". Does this storytelling work out perfect in this movie? I have to say no. Although it works original, it also tends to make the movie needlessly tiresome after a while. It's not always interesting or refreshing enough to follow the story from the three different viewpoints. Unlike "Rashômon", you as the viewer often feel cheated about what the real truth is. The three different stories too often make each other weaker, instead of stronger and more intriguing, even though it still makes the movie as a whole original and refreshing. So you can really say that the story and storytelling is one of the stronger- as well as one of the weaker points of the movie.
Gene Kelly is good in his role but really the main characters of the movie are the three girls. They mostly carry the movie and make the movie a delight to watch. The movie further more also features some other great supporting actors, such as; Patrick Macnee and Leslie Phillips. The characters are all fun and have some good chemistry, even though they are all far from well developed or written.
The sets, costumes (Oscar-winner) and the musical numbers are great looking, like you always should expect from a genre movie like this one, from the MGM-studios. This movie will surely not disappoint the fans.
It's a good and even one of the better and more fun musicals from the MGM-studios.
Cole Porter's score is far from his best and you probably would never guess that George Cukor directed it and Gene Kelly, although he dances as well as ever, isn't well served by either the script or indeed the choreographer, (it's virtually a supporting role). But what it has in spades are the Les Girls of the title; Mitzi Gaynor, (she's the 'sassy' bundle of fun), Taina Elg, (the gold-digger) and that great leggy British comedienne Kay Kendall who is not particularly well served by the script either but who is so graceful and witty and sophisticated she can lift the material. She isn't as good here as she was in "Genevieve" but she is better than anyone else in the movie and she won a Golden Globe for it, (though Elg, too, is a duplicitous little spitfire and is probably better here than in anything else she did). It looks fabulous, (Orry-Kelly's costumes won an Oscar), but, as we know, looks aren't everything. Nobody's finest hour, then, but neither is it totally negligible.
The plot for this film is a lot like taking the Kurasawa film
"Rashomon" and combining it with "An American in Paris". The final
product, while pretty to look at, it pretty dreadful--overly long,
overly familiar and amazingly slight.
The film begins with Angèle (Taina Elg) suing Sybil (Kay Kendall) following the publication of Sybil's tell-all book "Barry Nichols and Les Girls". What follows is a Rashomon-style plot where each of the particulars in the story tell their account of what happened back when they were a successful dance team--and each has a completely different idea of what has really occurred--and each thinks they were Barry's one love.
So why wasn't I in love with this film? The biggest problem is that the characters are generally unlikable--especially the very manipulative Barry (Gene Kelly). As for the dancing, I hated it but it all depends on what style music you like. If you like big production numbers and lots of very modern dance, you'll probably like it. I prefer musicals where the singing and dancing are more integrated into the plot-- such as in the infinitely more successful film from this same period, "Gigi". Also, the film just lacks originality, as it did borrow so heavily from "Rashomon". But most importantly, I just found the film overly long and pretty dull. Pretty to look at...but dull.
It is also known as Cole Porter's LES GIRLS, a tremendously fun-packed
vaudeville directed by George Cukor, which is configured in the
RASHOMON-esque love affairs among the leader of the dance troupe Barry
Nichols (Kelly) and his three "les girls" the French Angèle (Elg), the
British Sybil (Kendall) and the American Joy (Gaynor).
The film opens in London, a libel lawsuit springs 3 sides of the story, first from Sybil's angle, then Angèle tells a completely different story, finally Barry comes to the fore and wraps up the case with his truth-revealing recount, yet what is the truth? (as a man holding a billboard written the said words consecutively appears in front of the courtroom). Each story is elaborated with the narrator's own premeditated embellishments which lean toward their favor, frustratingly, viewers will never get what had happened in lieu of many contradictions galore, and surely it is not the film's true intent neither.
Cole Porter's music numbers and Jack Cole's choreography are the mainstay, each girl is squarely allotted to one-third of the leading status of their story and each consummates a distinctive pas de faux with Kelly, Elg is exotic and bewitching, Kendall is demure yet loopy, but it is Gaynor, who stuns with her ultimate dance routine with Kelly, she is a top-notch dancer, and although all three women are imbecilic to some extent and Barry is a philandering swine, her Joy is the closest one with a speck of wisdom, her tactic to Barry's insincere proposal is golden, alas she will soon capitulate to an abominable male-skewing plot device of a fake heart condition. As a film actress, Ms. Rex Harrison, Kendall stands out among the rest, embalms a scent mingled with mild hysteria and glacial indifference to a larger-than-life character, two years before her untimely death due to myeloid leukaemia at the age of 33. Gene Kelly, on the contrary, is past his prime, mostly delegated to the foil of three ladies' show pieces. But he has the luck to kiss all the three beauties, so, it is a bad deal for him I guess.
Porter's ear-friendly ditties are charmingly mellifluous, there are superlative musical materials and Cukor's direction is executed in moderate discretion, but the fussy and preposterous storyline is a major turn-off, not to mention the badly organized courtroom confrontation and the final hypocritical reconciliation, yuk, it is an insult to the female gender, I cannot squeeze a smile when it ends, but I will go to youtube and watch the splendid musical performances alone.
There are fabulous talents involved in this film, but the result is not as good as I expected. Cole Porter's songs are surprisingly undistinguished, and there's not quite as much singing and dancing as there could be. The settings and costuming are great however, and keep the eye entertained. Love those 50's wasp waists and bouffant skirts! The screenplay is sharp, the acting good, and the intriguing story keeps bowling along.Predictable it's not. Kay Kendall displays her talent for comedy, but for me the standout is Mitzi Gaynor. She is a snappy little actress and a lithe and fluid dancer. In this vehicle she outclasses Gene Kelly who falls short of his usual charm. Taina Elg (who?)is pretty enough, but to me does not have any charisma. Overall, while witty and entertaining, the story is lacking in warmth and romance. Maybe it's too witty: the stuff about relationships is pretty cynical. To summarize, it falls short on delivering the magic of the great musicals. You won't fall asleep, but you won't be singing or dancing around the living room either. 6 out of 10.
Ah, the radical viewpoint. It seems that Cukor, a cinematic legend, had a muse, one that no one would suspect because he only used the most bare bones part of his inspiration - Akira Kurosawa's 1950 masterpiece, Rashomon. Cukor created his own masterpiece in Les Girls, with a feel that's 180 degrees away from Rashomon's dark, brooding atmospherics. Much more clever than the excellent adaptation of The Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven. Setting the self interest of different witnesses about the scandalous events upon which their very disparate versions of those events, painting themselves in the best light, into a typical behind-the-scenes plot of a musical comedy production is brilliant, but not well appreciated.
While I really do like this film, every time I hear "Ca C'est L'amour",
I'm reminded how similar it is to "C'est Magnifique". Anyone else
notice the obvious similarity in the music and the lyrics between the
two songs? "Love is wonderful. When love goes away, it's terrible. When
love comes back, it's wonderful again." I think Porter simply did a
rewrite of "C'est Magnifique", and hoped nobody would notice.
Otherwise, I think this is a well-done film. Although the music isn't the best, it is serviceable. One disappointment is that the "Ladies In Waiting" number has so much peripheral stuff going on (Elg trying to hide her face, Kendall drunk), that you don't get the full impact of Porter's "naughty" lyrics.
I don't agree that Kay Kendall stole this film, it was after all an MGM musical, don't get me wrong Kay was a beautiful talented actress, and gave a sparkling performance, but this was a musical and Mitzi Gaynor as usual left everyone standing, very talented lady very wasted in Hollywood, people on here say she was not as good as cyd Charisse, Mitzi had something cyd never had "personality" I saw cyd at the London paladium live and she was awful, I saw Mitzi's knockout Vegas act, chalk and cheese, also Leslie Caron was supposed to have turned this role down, I am glad she did, very overrated. the more people see Mitzi Gaynor roles now the more they appreciate what a great talent she was (is), she stole there's no business like show-business, and was great with frank Sinatra in the joker is wild, totally wasted in Hollywood, should have been in much more, but she went on to become one of America's greatest performers, in shows and night clubs, also her great TV shows, which are shortly to be released on DVD, thanks for reading, Gloria
'Les Girls' sure does seem to have a lot going for it. It has style coming
out the ears. It has Gene Kelly being Gene Kelly. Its female stars,
especially Kay Kendall and Taina Elg, are captivating, and I don't mean to
denigrate Mitzi Gaynor by omission. It has songs by Cole Porter. This should
be a "can't-miss" film for those who like movies such as 'Gigi,' 'Funny
Face' and 'An American in Paris.'
But 'LG' barely gets the nod of approval from me. That's because its 'Rashoman'-like story plays out rather long and dull. There is surprisingly little singing and dancing in the film compared to the seemingly endless retelling of the story three times. This just-under two hour movie felt like 'Cleopatra' by the end! And I thought the director could have pruned a bit of Kay Kendall's drunken singing in one scene. It was funny for a minute, yes, but it got awful annoying carried on at such length.
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