Seven years after Gene Kelly graced the screen and gave us the memorable and timeless performance in Singin’ in the Rain he appeared in a little film entitled Les Girls. Alongside Mitzi Gaynor, Kay Kendall, Taina Elg he manages to star in yet another memorable entry in the fifties semi-musical genre. The film does well to separate itself with the overall story of a court case tying everything together, and making sure that this film is not just another throwaway cookie cutter film from the fifties.
Our story follows three women and their journey of performing in a show called Barry Nichols and Les Girls, in Paris in the 1950’s. Unlike most musical dramedies of the time, this one has an orverarching story involved in a court case. We find that Sybil Wren (Kay Kendall) has recently written a tell-all book about her time in showbusiness in which she writes an entire chapter about her former roommate/friend Angele Ducros (Taina Elg) having an affair with producer Barry Nichols (Gene Kelly). Once in court, both women are forced to testify, and we see that each woman has a different perspective on how the story actually unfolded, including Angele accusing Sybil of being the one who had the affair. It seems that the truth will never come out until Mr. Nichols himself testifies as to what actually happened during the time of Les Girls. The question becomes will Nichols show, and how does Joanne” Joy” Henderson (Mitzi Gaynor) play a part in all of this.
Okay, so I am going to be honest, and vulnerable so you are not allowed to laugh. This is the first time, I have seen a Gene Kelly film. I have never seen Singin in the Rain or any of his numerous films. So as first experiences go this was not a bad one. I couldn’t help but notice how old he seemed, and mostly just in a how is he still dancing like this kind of way. I was more than impressed with Mitzi Gaynor, who is not only beautiful however she seemed to leave the largest impression in the shortest amount of time within the film. It is also incredibly easy to see why so many were impressed with Kay Kendall and her dynamic drunkard performance.
This is a film that really was able to benefit from the Bu-ray upgrade. Of course, I was not around first time around to see this film. However, I will say this film hits the home screen clear, bright, and it all looks incredible. In every way that the fictional show Barry Nichols and Les Girls is supposed to be a spectacle, the film in its entirety does the same. From exciting musical numbers to big laughs, and even love. Les Girls, has its number ups and downs, more than enough to keep the audience engaged and then some. George Cukor, known for films like My Fair Lady, Born Yesterday, and The Philadelphia Story directed the film and managed to capture a unique story that spans several continents and almost ruins six (fictional) lives.
Picture Quality 5/5
Legendary Composer and Producer, Saul Chaplin helped, albeit uncredited, navigate this wonderful song and dance film. The songs are wonderful and guide this film into something close to magical at times. For those who don’t like a musical film with too many songs, no need to worry here, in all honesty, there was not an overwhelming amount of songs to speak of. No talking through song here. The film was edited rather well for home viewing and I did not experience much in the way of issues. No nasty problems with the audio jumping up and down depending on the scene. You can safely sit back and relax and enjoy the show.
Audio Quality 5/5
Not much about the packaging of Les Girls is wholly original. The artwork is straight out of the fifties which in this case, makes total sense but there is also something to be said about coming up with something brand new, something that pays homage to the original but adds a touch of modern to it. We get a rather standard Amaray case, and no slipcover. One of the decisions I will always love from Warner Archives is to include artwork on the actual disc. I am a fan of the idea that we should always be moving forward, and no artwork is too reminiscent of the old days when DVDs were two-sided and the only way you could tell what the film was tiny writing around the center opening.
The Packaging 1/5
Warner Archives doesn’t always manage to get extras added onto their releases, however, surprisingly enough this release does get a few different extras included with it. Three, in fact, was included with this release. Not enough that the films get added depth or even more appreciation, no the features are more in the way of publicity stunts to promote the film. Not something a fan would care about but something kitsch that can be thrown in for funsies. The special features that are included are as follows:
- Taina Elg Hosts Cole Porter in Hollywood: Ca C’est L’Amour
- Vintage Cartoon Flea Circus
- Theatrical Trailer
Special Features 2/5
So here’s the thing I really had no idea, that I would actually enjoy this. I actually expected mostly the opposite. Remember that old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” well the same goes for classic Blu-rays apparently because that’s exactly what I did. I looked at it and saw nonsense. Saw a campy film with a title that didn’t age well, and what seemed to be a boring 114 mins. Now, this film is not an action-packed film that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, I was genuinely involved in the story and wanted to know what the outcome was going to be. I was also pleasantly surprised to be well, surprised by the ending. This film is enjoyable and a little unexpected when it comes to the premise. A good addition to a fifties musical aficionado. You can purchase this film HERE.
Overall 4/5- A worthwhile, Campy, Good time.