Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cinema Tuesdays {Les Girls}

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I love 1957's Les Girls! How can you not love Cole Porter, Mitzi Gaynor and Kay Kendall in one movie? Unfortunately, it's also the last time Gene Kelly played the lead role in a MGM musical.
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Sybil, before she married and became Lady Wren, was part of the act Barry Nichols and Les Girls in Paris. Angele is suing Sybil, because Sybil's book says that she tried to gas herself.
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This is Angele's counsel. Why, yes, that is Patrick Macnee before he became John Steed.
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Now that is what you wear to court! Kay Kendall always dressed so wonderfully. The should be a Tumblr devoted to Kay Kendall.

Sybil's Story:

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Angele joined the act after auditioning wearing some flower baskets. Mitzi Gaynor plays Joy and I love how she's wearing that pink scarf. Sybil also has a fabulous fisherman's cardigan.
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According to Sybil, when Angele moved into the apartment, she brought with her a ton of expensive clothing, that hat and some furs that her uncle gave her.
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I found this dance to be very modern and I'm digging that crazy set. Barry says that Angele needs a lot of rehearsal in order to get her up to speed with the act.
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Naturally, he takes her out to a late supper afterwards. Yes, those are cherries in that hat.
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Pretty soon, they're having all day rehearsals in a boat. Because you can't not rehearse in a boat.
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I love Joy's outfit here, very Fifties and I want that cardigan.
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But look who shows up while Angele is in a boat: her fiancé Pierre who thinks she's studying to be a nurse and volunteers at an orphanage.
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"We're Ladies in Waiting" -definitely the funniest part of the movie.
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Anyway, Angele is worried that Pierre has found out that's she's been dancing instead of becoming a nurse and Barry has just fired her for missing her cue. Notice how the lighting shows the audience the debt of her despair. And that's why she tried to gas herself, says Sybil.
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Yes, that is Leslie Phillips paying Sir Gerald Wren. Unfortunately this is before he became Leslie Phillips, so he doesn't use any of his catchphrases, not even "Hello". Major disappointment.
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Meanwhile, Angele tries to convince Pierre that Sybil was lying while wearing a soft, feminine dress to show how much she is a devoted wife. The flowers are a nice touch.
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This is Angele's trial outfit. Not as terrific as Sybil's, but more in keeping with her character as a devoted, elegant French wife.

Angele's Story:
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According to Agele, Sir Gerald dropped by the girls' flat one day when he was in Paris for business and Angele and Joy had to cover for Sybil. I love Joy's plaid shirt and red pants.
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In this flashback, Sybil was rather partial to gin-based perfumes.
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And to singing Bizet's Carmen in the middle of the afternoon. Kay Kendall was really a marvelous comedienne.
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Angele lies to Barry that Sybil drinks because she's in love with him in order to save Sybil's job.
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So, Barry gives up drinking around Sybil and spends more time with her. I think that Joy's outfit here is more in keeping with Grace Kelly in Mogambo.
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I love this routine. It's a shame that Kay Kendall wasn't able to do more musical comedies.
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Anyway, while the act was on tour in Spain, Gerald shows up to convince Sybil to return to England and marry him. And Sybil tells two different lies to Gerald and Barry which leads to the traditional fisticuffs. Sink me, that waist is tiny!
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So, Sybil goes back to drinking, Gerald goes back to London and Barry fires her and again we have to lighting and the same outcome as with Angele.
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Gerald is rather ticked off and not even Sybil's awesome hat can convince him otherwise.
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Yes, the LBD is fabulous, but how cool is the Wren's apartment! Red rooms with white couches are cool, but Sybil is doing needle work!
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The only way to get at the truth is to call in a surprise witness.
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Feathered hat and velvet coat!

Barry's Story:

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According to Barry, he only had eyes for Joy, who wont give him the time of day because she wants a commitment.
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So, he gives in and says that they're engaged. So she takes him home after the show and slips into something a little more comfortable. It's not what he's expecting, but Joy's a very smart girl by giving him a preview to see if he can handle it.
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Meanwhile, Gerald and Pierre want Barry to fire the girls because they know that as long as Sybil and Angele are with the theatre, they can't get married. So, Barry comes up with a devious plan for all three of them to get married without firing anyone.
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Barry pretends that dancing is killing him and swears Joy to secrecy. Naturally Joy tells the other two, who decide to quit the act to save Barry's life and marry so that he wont worry about how they are going to support themselves, which is the only reason why he's still dancing against doctor's orders.
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The girls give Barry a party to let him down gently. I love all of their party dresses, but Sybil's is my favourite. Which is yours?

So, who tried to gas themselves? Was it an accident? What does Joy think of Angele and Sybil's stories? Was Barry telling the truth or lying to save Sybil and Angele's marriages? But then again:
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There's no trailer, so here is Gene Kelly's impression of Brando in The Wild One:

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