November 28, 2006 Leave a Comment
(1956) dir. Frank Tashlin
I’d never seen a Jayne Mansfield movie before, don’t know why. It’s easy to see how she was being utilized as a poor man’s more buxom Marilyn Monroe, platinum blonde and with an enormous chest. Apparently she had an enormous IQ too, but here, it’s pretty straight dim blonde.
The film is vibrant on many fronts, directed by Frank Tashlin, who cut his directing skills on the pre-war Warner Brothers animated shorts (their best period, in my opinion), and moving successfully into feature films that are shot and directed much like animation, starting with the Martin and Lewis pic, Hollywood or Bust (1956). The other major points of vibrancy are the numerous rock’n'roll acts that perform numbers in the film: Fats Domino, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, the Platters, and especially Gene Vincent. It’s hot stuff.
The soundtrack shakes its hips throughout and the pacing is quick and poppy as well. And Tom Ewell is great. Interestingly made the year after Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch (1955) in which Ewell stars opposite Marilyn Monroe, Ewell is paired with Mansfield, the next big blonde in the running. He gets lots of goofy reactions to her “attributes”. It has something in it that seems almost referential, but other than the obvious, I can’t put my finger on it.
Unfortunately, the script doesn’t have the verve and wit of a Billy Wilder, though it’s amusing all the way through. It’s a cute, rock’n'roll comedy made much better by the appearances of the rockers in their primes. Certainly, a fun one.