OK, So “The Girl Can’t Help It”

The old movie The Girl Can’t Help It played in the Big Apple in 2006 and was intelligently reviewed in the Village Voice.  So I saw it on DVD, impossible though that makes it to judge the cinematography.

Frank Tashlin’s film is brazen with color, with “laminated sheen” (J. Hoberman), and is a 1956 guilty pleasure.  It’s a rock ‘n’ roll quasi-musical starring Jayne Mansfield, Tom Ewell and Edmond O’Brien, and featuring Little Richard, Eddie Cochran and even Julie London.  Most of the songs are trash; they’re “classic rock.”  Thankfully, some ballads are there.  Unthankfully, so is Tashlin’s script.

Enjoy yourself.  Mansfield is staggeringly beautiful, and although J. Hoberman is right that her “desire for domesticity” is “unconvincing,” at least it’s there.  The girl can’t help it?  Right, and she can’t help being highly sensual once Tashlin gets hold of her.  Not that The Girl is very hip, though.  The presence of the principals, e.g. Ewell, makes the film seem basically divorced from rock music’s feisty world.  Jayne ain’t cool . . . I take that back:  In a way she is.  Whatever the case, the flick is pure Hollywood commercialism.  Again, a guilty pleasure.

The Girl Can't Help It film poster
The Girl Can’t Help It film poster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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