Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jayne Mansfield,The Girl Can't Help It 1956

The Girl Can't Help It is a 1956 comedy musical film starring Jayne Mansfield, Tom Ewell, and Edmond O'Brien. It was produced and directed by Frank Tashlin, with a screenplay written by Frank Tashlin and Herbert Baker from an uncredited novel Do Re Me by Garson Kanin. The movie was originally intended as a Hollywood screen-vehicle for the American sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, with the subplot being a satire of teenagers and their rock ‘n’ roll music. The unintended result is the “most potent” celebration of rock music ever captured on film.
The original music score, including a title song performed by Little Richard, was by Bobby Troup, with an additional credit to Ray Anthony for the tune "Big Band Boogie". It was shot in DeLuxe Color, filmed in CinemaScope, and runs 99 minutes.

Plot

A slot-machine mobster, Marty "Fats" Murdock (Edmond O'Brien), wants his blonde girlfriend, Jerri Jordan (Jayne Mansfield), to be a singing star, despite her seeming lack of talent. He hires alcoholic press agent Tom Miller (Tom Ewell) to promote Jordan, both because of his past success with the career of singer Julie London (a fiction of the script) and because he never makes sexual advances towards his female clients.
Miller sets to work by showing Jordan off around numerous night spots; his machinations arouse interest in Jordan and soon offers of contracts follow. However, Miller realizes that Jordan really just wants to be a homemaker and tries to persuade Murdock not to push Jordan into a show-business career. He thinks he's succeeded when he reveals to Murdock that Jordan's singing is so bad it shatters light bulbs, but Murdock suggests that Jordan would be perfect for the part of a train whistle in a song he (Murdock) composed while in prison. Miller reluctantly records Jordan performing Murdock's song and heads to Chicago to promote it to Wheeler (John Emery), a former mob rival of Murdock who now has a monopoly over the jukebox industry.
Suspicious of Miller's reluctance to promote Jordan and of the obvious attraction between Miller and Jordan, Murdock has his associate Mousie (Henry Jones) wiretap a phone call between the pair. Feeling pity for them, Mousie edits out the romantic portions of their conversations and convinces Murdoch that their relationship is strictly business.
In Chicago, Wheeler is impressed by the song and Jordan's voice and offers to sign both Jordan and the song writer. However, when Miller reveals that the song writer is Murdock, Wheeler throws him out of his office and vows never to play the song. A furious Murdock bullies bar owners into buying jukeboxes from him instead and successfully promotes his and Jordan's song. To prevent Murdock from stealing his business, Wheeler arranges to have Murdoch assassinated at the rock show where Jordan will be making her debut.
On his way to the show, Murdock confesses to Mousie that he doesn't want to marry Jordan. Mousie confesses that he altered the tape of Jordan and Miller's phone call and encourages Murdock to let Jordan marry Miller. Backstage at the show, Jordan confesses her love to Miller and they kiss. Jordan also admits that she is in fact a talented singer, who lied because she did not want a show business career; she goes on stage and performs a song about her love for Miller. When Murdock arrives, Miller declares to him that he and Jordan are in love; the delighted Murdock surprises Miller by shaking his hand and offering to be the best man.
Before Miller and Murdock can tell Jordan the good news, Wheeler's assassins shoot at Murdock. Miller fights them off and shoves Murdock on stage to perform his song, reasoning that the assassins won't shoot Murdock in front of so many witnesses. Wheeler arrives and, impressed by the audience's response to Murdock, calls off the assassination and signs Murdock instead. The film ends with Miller and Jordan kissing on their honeymoon, as Murdock and Mousie perform on a TV show in the background.

Influence on rock music

The movie’s influence on rock music is significant. The film reached Liverpool, England in the early summer of 1957. It featured cameo performances of early rock ‘n’ roll stars such as Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, and Gene Vincent and His Bluecaps, fascinated a 16-year-old John Lennon by showing him, for the first time, his "worshipped" American rock ‘n’ roll stars as living humans and thus further inspiring him to pursue his own rock and roll dream. On July 6, 1957, 15-year-old Paul McCartney was introduced to Lennon after the latter had performed at a village church garden party with his skiffle group The Quarrymen. McCartney demonstrated his musical prowess to Lennon by performing "Twenty Flight Rock" in a similar manner to the way he had seen it played by Eddie Cochran in The Girl Can’t Help It. This led to Lennon inviting McCartney to join the group. McCartney talks about the movie in the TV film the Beatles Anthology.

Songs performed in the movie

  1. "The Girl Can't Help It" - Little Richard
  2. "Tempo's Tempo" - Nino Tempo
  3. "My Idea of Love" - Johnny Olenn
  4. "I Ain't Gonna Cry No More" - Johnny Olenn
  5. "Ready Teddy" - Little Richard
  6. "She's Got It" - Little Richard
  7. "Cool It Baby" - Eddie Fontaine
  8. "Cinnamon Sinner" - Teddy Randazzo and the Three Chuckles
  9. "Spread the Word" - Abbey Lincoln
  10. "Cry Me a River" - Julie London
  11. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" - Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps
  12. "Twenty Flight Rock" - Eddie Cochran
  13. "Rock Around the Rockpile" - Ray Anthony Orchestra
  14. "Rocking Is Our Business" - The Treniers
  15. "Blue Monday" - Fats Domino
  16. "You'll Never, Never Know" - The Platters
  17. "Every Time You Kiss Me" - Unknown, lip-synched by Jayne Mansfield
  18. "Giddy Up Ding Ding" - Freddy Bell & The Bell-Boys

Cast


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