It's difficult to know, without seeing the 1975 cut, nor the first TV re-edit done by Bogdanovich himself, where the differences in the versions lie (and complicating matters, Bogdanovich was finally able to tighten up bits and pieces and add an entire missing 90-second sequence to the Blakely cut for the Blu-ray). Indeed, seeing the Blakely cut, it's hard to imagine how the trims or changes would have happened at all, as the majority of picture is in long, unbroken shots (beautifully lensed by Laszlo Kovacs). From the occasionally dupey and ragged image quality here evident in the current Blu-ray transfer, it would appear that some numbers were simply discarded entirely in 1975, and replaced by lesser source material by Blakely. The looseness of the structure would have enabled some chess-playing with the sequence of events, but it's hard to imagine the film being truly butchered beyond recognition.
In any event, it's more fruitful to view this film as a very earnest experiment, rather than a "throwback musical". The decision to shoot all the musical numbers live, with the actors not only using their own voices to sing, but doing so on-camera without overdubs, immediately places the entire enterprise in some cinematic twilight zone, out of time, floating weirdly between an era of 1930s Lubitsch and 1970s underground cinema. But, amazingly, it works, in no small part due to the uniformly appealing and earnest cast. Cringe-worthy duff notes aside, even Burt Reynolds pulls it off, and is often genuinely charming in his menage-aux-trois pairings with both Cybill Shepherd and Madeline Kahn. Duilio Del Prete clearly carries his musical numbers with ease, unlike the other three leads, but avoids upstaging them with what is obviously a better-trained singing voice.
Indeed, the film works astonishingly well as an ensemble piece, perfectly suited to the double-entendre-laden Cole Porter tunes around which it is all based. The group sequences in tight quarters, such as the repeated bits in playboy Reynolds' chauffeured limos, are completely charming. The physical comedy is a gentle slapstick, not overly broad.
It doesn't all hang together perfectly. The already-thin narrative feels stretched to the breaking point somewhere around the three-quarters mark, and the whole thing feels a bit long in the tooth at 121 minutes. It's easy to see how mid-1970s audiences would have found the entire enterprise utterly confounding, even after enjoying Bogdanovich's PAPER MOON two years prior. It overreaches, but is no failure.