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Party Girl (1958)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 5 February 1959 (UK)
Lawyer Tommy Farrell is a defender of crooks. Vicki Gaye encourages him to go straight, but mob king Rico Angelo insists otherwise.


Nicholas Ray


George Wells (screenplay), Leo Katcher (story)


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The most complete, newly restored version of Nicholas Ray's experimental masterpiece embodies the director's practice of film-making as a "communal way of life." Ray plays himself in the ... See full summary »

Director: Nicholas Ray
Stars: Richard Bock, Tom Farrell, Danny Fisher


Complete credited cast:
Robert Taylor ... Tommy Farrell
Cyd Charisse ... Vicki Gaye
Lee J. Cobb ... Rico Angelo
John Ireland ... Louis Canetto
Kent Smith ... Jeffrey Stewart
Claire Kelly ... Genevieve Farrell
Corey Allen ... Cookie La Motte
Lewis Charles ... Danny Rimett
David Opatoshu ... Lou Forbes
Kem Dibbs Kem Dibbs ... Joey Vulner
Patrick McVey Patrick McVey ... Detective O'Malley
Barbara Lang ... Ginger D'Amour
Myrna Hansen Myrna Hansen ... Joy Hampton
Betty Utey Betty Utey ... Cindy Consuelo


Lawyer Thomas Farrell has made a career defending crooks in trials. He has never realized that there is a downside to his success, until he meets the dancer Vicki Gaye. She makes him decide to get a better reputation. But mob king Rico Angelo *insists* that he continues his services. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When she turns on the heat...Gangster guns search Chicago! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

5 February 1959 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Party Girl See more »


Box Office


$1,758,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Euterpe See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The choreography is not typical of early 1930s American dance, but from Postwar modern style. See more »


During the trial, there is a women on the jury. While the movie is set in the early thirties, it wasn't until Gov. Henry Horner signed the bill giving women the right to sit on juries in Illinois, effective July 1, 1939. See more »


Tony Martin, himself: [Opening tune - singing] Party girl, Party girl, Where do you play tonight, girl? Party girl, Party girl, Will it be gay tonight, girl?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Chicago In The Early Thirties See more »


Referenced in Los atracadores (1962) See more »


Party Girl
Music by Nicholas Brodszky
Lyrics by Sammy Cahn
Performed by Tony Martin (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

I know a girl a girl called Party, Party Girl.
2 April 2010 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Crippled Lawyer Thomas Farrell (Robert Taylor) has made a career defending crooks in trials, so much so he's now the front line defender for the Chicago mob. But into his life comes dancer Vicki Gayle (Cyd Charisse), who as he starts to fall in love with her, makes him see that his life is worth so much more than that. However, mob king Rico Angelo (Lee J. Cobb) is keen to retain Farrell's services, at any price it seems.

There's no getting away from it, Party Girl (a euphemism for a prostitute) features a very standard formulaic plot. It's also a very misleading title in that it doesn't scream out this is a crime picture. Directed by Nicholas Ray for MGM (his last for one of the big hitting studios), it's adapted by George Wells from a story by Leo Katcher. Supporting the three principal actors are John Ireland & Kent Smith. Robert J. Bronner (Jailhouse Rock) provides photography and the film is a CinemaScope/Metrocolor production.

Set as it is in prohibition Chicago, it allows Ray to rise above the simple formula and blend his knack for visual touches with interesting characterisations. If we really are going to cement this in the film noir genre? Then it's more down to the director than anything in the story. Yes there's themes such as alienation, vulnerability and the core essence potential for tragi-love-born out of two characters stuck in differing forms of prostitution. But the script is so weak it needed Ray to put an almost surreal sheen over it. There's exotic dancing featuring prominently, some what a given with the weak Charisse starring (in fairness to her it's one hell of a cliché riddled role), but again Ray crafts in such a way it doesn't let the film feel too sprightly. Which is something that this lush production is in danger of being at times. Yet line those dance numbers alongside scenes such as a portrait of Jean Harlow being shot to pieces, or of Charisse being questioned by a policeman's Silhouette - and you get an oddity. And a very enjoyable one at that.

This was Taylor's last contract film for MGM, and fittingly it's one of his very best performances. Again one tends to think this is probably down to Ray's coaxing, but regardless, Taylor plays Farrell with vulnerable elegance and a steely eyed determination that carries Charisse along with him. Thus the romance is believable, and yes, engaging. Cobb does another in his long line of larger than life characters. Chewing the scenery as much as his Rico character chews on his cigars. While Ireland is a by the numbers thug for hire and Kent Smith a talking prop. There's a fleeting performance from Corey Allen as baby faced psychopath Cookie La Motte, a character that the film could have definitely done with more of. Here's the main problem with Party Girl, it's just not edgy or dangerous enough. Which in a film involving gangsters, murders and crooked court cases, is an issue is it not? But thanks to Ray and Taylor the film overcomes the many flaws to wind up being a very enjoyable crime-love story based picture. Film noir though? Well that's debatable really. But lets not get into that... 7/10

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