Daily Archives: July 22, 2010

The Girl Can’t Help It

Directed by Frank Tashlin
Produced by Frank Tashlin
Written by Frank Tashlin & Herbert Baker
Starring Tom Ewell
Jayne Mansfield
Edmond O’Brien
Music by Bobby Troup
Cinematography Leon Shamroy
Editing by James B. Clark
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date December 1, 1956
Running time 99 min
Country United States
Language English

The Girl Can’t Help It is an interesting film for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was one of the first rock ‘n’ roll movies and featured performances by Little Richard, Gene Vincent and others. In fact this film was the inspiration for a couple of Liverpool lads to get decide to become rock stars too. Apparently some guy named John Lennon was obsessed with the film and seeing all of his heroes on the big screen, while another guy, Paul McCartney impressed Lennon with his impression of Eddie Cochran’s performance of Twenty Flight Rock  from this movie. They started their own band which later became known as the Beatles or something. You may have heard of them.

The film was directed by Frank Tashlin, who as I have previously said started off directing cartoons for Warner Bros. He brings a few cartoony gag including one that I found quite funny and was a little rude. I am talking about the scene where Jayne Mansfield walks past the milkman and the lids of the milk bottles pop off and the milk starts coming out.

The film’s star is Jayne Mansfield who really was nothing more than a Marilyn Monroe wannabe. This may seem a bit harsh but it looks as though she was told in this film to act as much like Marilyn as possible, as that is all she does. Mansfield was not really known for her acting ability but for something else, as Sophia Loren can see in the picture here. Let’s just say that her bosoms were bigger than her talent. Later in her career Mansfield became more well-known for her wardrobe malfunctions than any of the movies that she made. She later appeared in a film called Promises! Promises! where she became the first mainstream film star since the early 30s to appear on film in the nude, thanks to the demise of the Hays Code. Jayne’s daughter is Mariska Hargitay, who plays Olivia Benson on Law & Order SVU. You can certainly see the resemblance between the two, especially in the facial features.

As for the film, it is funny and entertaining and the music is great but it is a bit dated.

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The Naughty Nineties

Directed by Jean Yarbrough
Produced by John Grant & Edmund L. Hartmann
Written by Edmund L. Hartmann, John Grant, Edmund Joseph &
Hal Fimberg
Starring Bud Abbott
Lou Costello
Alan Curtis
Rita Johnson
Music by Lloyd Akridge & Paul Dessau
Editing by Arthur Hilton
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date June 20, 1945
Running time 76 min
Language English

This is one of Abbott & Costello’s funniest films and includes a few of their better known sketches, including Who’s On First.

I’d recommend the film just on the basis that it contains Who’s On First as it’s probably one of the best film comic routines ever. (I do know that A&C did do it in an earlier film and that a lot of their material was recycled over and over again, but I really don’t care!)