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The Girl Can’t Help It Criterion Blu-ray Review

“The Girl Can’t Help It” takes you back to the 50’s.  

Directed by animator turned filmmaker/writer Frank Tashlin (who wrote the script alongside Herbert Baker), “The Girl Can’t Help It” is a 1956 musical comedy set in New York about a down on his luck talent agent (Tom Miller) who teams up with a down on his luck gangster (Fats Murdock) to make Fats girlfriend Jerri Jordan a star. Alas, Jerri isn’t interested in being a star and would rather be a housewife and doesn’t seem to possess any talent as a singer, but Tom is stuck with trying to make her a star anyway. Throughout the process, Tom begins to fall for Jerri which could prove fatal for Tom as Fats has a history of violence. Will Jerri become a singer or will something else happen entirely? That would be spoiling the fun.

Despite having a pretty basic premise at the center, “The Girl Can’t Help It” manages to work primarily because of the music. Wrapped around the story are a host of rock and roll music performances by the likes of Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, The Platters and Little Richard (who does the incredibly catchy title track). There’s something positively rewarding about seeing a movie featuring the early days of rock and roll with the musicians in their prime. 

On the comedic side of things, ‘Girl’ manages to deliver laughs too. Frank Tashlin clearly brings in some of his cartoon history here as there are several sight gags that resemble live-action cartoons ala melting ice, bubbling milk, and glass breaking. The script also deserves credit for being a fairly smart satire on stardom and the rock music industry. 

Over the years, ‘Girl’ has been noted for featuring one of Jayne Mansfield’s best (if not the best) performance in her tragically short lived movie career and this is certainly true. She lights up the screen everytime she is on it and manages to make the character of Jerri a fully formed character. Her chemistry with co-stars Tom Ewell and Edmond O’Brien is also apparent

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? The Cinemascope with De Luxe Color film has been given a new high-definition digital transfer. The result? This is the best the movie has looked on home video. The colors look particularly rich.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? Expect a nice clean Mono track. The music really pops here too which is what really matters.

Extras:
* A “How To Create Cartoons By Frank Tashlin With The ScotArt Technique Of Drawing” excerpts booklet.
* A booklet with an essay by Rachel Syme.
* “The Girl Can’t Help It” trailer.
* A “You Must Remember This” podcast episode about Jayne Mansfield.
* Commentary by film scholar Toby Miller
* A new interview with “Jayne Mansfield: The Girl Couldn’t Help It” author Eve Golden about Jayne Mansfield and the press.
* A laidback new interview with WFMU DJs Dave “The Spazz” Abramson and Gaylord Fields who discuss the music/musicians in “The Girl Can’t Help It” and the music and rock movies of the time period.
* A highly entertaining 2004 interview with John Waters who talks about Jayne Mansfield, rock music, and “The Girl Can’t Help It.”
* “From The Archives”- 3 extras included here: Silent on-set footage, Jayne Mansfield on the “Tabloid” TV series in 1957 and Little Richard on “The Merv Griffin Show” (1984).
* “The Grandeur Of Cinemascope”- A new video essay by film critic David Cairns who talks about the cinematography and use of color in “The Girl Can’t Help It.”

April 10, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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