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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays Week 50 The Girl Can’t Help It

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Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the cutthroat world of jukebox rentals.

We watched:

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Um, for a CinemaScope movie you need a CinemaScope poster (and color by DeLuxe).  (The below poster is from JulieLondon.org)

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Edited by Cinco DeNio
Found a better image.
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This is going to come across as body shaming and I guess it is. Jayne Mansfield is very pretty and in wonderful shape. I get why guys are turning around to check her out in that black dress at the beginning. But her figure is so Barbie-esque that it's kind of not attractive to me. I spent a lot of the movie wondering how much pain she must be in with a corset cinching her already tiny waist.

Also, am I supposed to believe she went swimming and came out with perfectly styled hair?

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26 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

This is going to come across as body shaming and I guess it is. Jayne Mansfield is very pretty and in wonderful shape. I get why guys are turning around to check her out in that black dress at the beginning. But her figure is so Barbie-esque that it's kind of not attractive to me. I spent a lot of the movie wondering how much pain she must be in with a corset cinching her already tiny waist.

Also, am I supposed to believe she went swimming and came out with perfectly styled hair?

I was thinking that too after she hid the Thanksgiving dinner and took off her dress.  The white undergarments showed how hourglassy her figure was.

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Question: What can't the girl help?  Seems to me she knew exactly what she was doing for most of the picture.

Also, I only knew the phrase "The girl can't help it" when the song was sampled in Fergie's song Clumsy.  (I didn't know TGCHI was a sample until I saw this movie.  I just thought they had come up with it for Fergie's song.)

 

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Musical Mondays actor repeat.  Alex Fraser played the owner who approached Georgy when she broke character then reverted to "Ask my agent."  He also played Pritchard, the near-sighted lawyer in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

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28 minutes ago, Cinco DeNio said:

Question: What can't the girl help?  Seems to me she knew exactly what she was doing for most of the picture.

Also, I only knew the phrase "The girl can't help it" when the song was sampled in Fergie's song Clumsy.  (I didn't know TGCHI was a sample until I saw this movie.  I just thought they had come up with it for Fergie's song.)

 

I think they are trying to say that she can't help all the attention she gets from men. She's just that attractive. Which I get because look at Jayne Mansfield.

But she's also portrayed as an "ideal" woman or at least a 1950s ideal. She's beautiful. She's constantly dressed well. She just loves to cook. She's kind of an airhead. She just wants to make her man happy. She can't help being perfect.

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7 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

I think they are trying to say that she can't help all the attention she gets from men. She's just that attractive. Which I get because look at Jayne Mansfield.

But she's also portrayed as an "ideal" woman or at least a 1950s ideal. She's beautiful. She's constantly dressed well. She just loves to cook. She's kind of an airhead. She just wants to make her man happy. She can't help being perfect.

Don’t forget, she also likes to keep house and wants to make lots of babies 🙄

Not that there’s anything wrong with her wanting any of that, but you’re right, it’s the fact the movie portrays her desires as being what constitutes a “perfect” woman that’s a bit icky. She essentially says, “Why would I want to do anything else when I can prepare boullion in bed for you and make you the perfect sandwich?”

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I said this in my review, but I found it so odd that the movie really didn’t seem to like Rock music. It seemed to either ignore it or outright dismiss it. NONE of the characters ever say they actually like it. In fact, one of the key moments is when Fats says, “Look at Eddie Cochran, he can’t sing for shit. She doesn’t need to be able to sing well. Kids are dumb.” And this is played out in the end with the teens jamming out to his shitty song at the end.

I guess they were just trying to appeal to the largest audience possible. It was sort of a proto-MTV. The “plot” (such as it is) was for the adults and the musical numbers were for the kids.

 

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9 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Don’t forget, she also likes to keep house and wants to make lots of babies 🙄

Not that there’s anything wrong with her wanting any of that, but you’re right, it’s the fact the movie portrays her desires as being what constitutes a “perfect” woman that’s a bit icky. She essentially says, “Why would I want to do anything else when I can prepare boullion in bed for you and make you the perfect sandwich?”

I was wondering during the movie, when is the last time a movie was made that was just "check out this hot person and how everyone wants to fuck them"* And that's the entire plot? I know the second half is mostly about jukeboxes but the first 45 minutes is "how much do you want to fuck Jayne Mansfield right now?" I'm sure it's more recent than I can think of but this feels like something that is very antiquated. 

*did anyone think it was kind of risque for the 50s when Jayne is taking about how she wants to have babies but purposely only want to have sex with her?

4 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

I said this in my review, but I found it so odd that the movie really didn’t seem to like Rock music. It seemed to either ignore it or outright dismiss it. NONE of the characters ever say they actually like it. In fact, one of the key moments is when Fats says, “Look at Eddie Cochran, he can’t sing for shit. She doesn’t need to be able to sing well. Kids are dumb.” And this is played out in the end with the teens jamming out to his shitty sing at the end.

I guess they were just trying to appeal to the largest audience possible. It was sort of a proto-MTV. The “plot” (such as it is) was for the adults and the musical numbers were for the kids.

 

Who is this movie for? Presumably teens into rock music but it's a movie about middle aged men and jukebox business.

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Side note: I presume the picture of Jayne's "brothers" was actually a picture of Mickey Hargitay and other bodybuilders.  Good thing she was presumably dating him at the time! (They didn't marry for two more years.)

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Yea so apparently, according to Wiki, I think I read after, they were supposedly MOCKING rock music.  Thus, the dumb "rock on a rock pile" song or whatever.  Of course, they are including some famous rock greats like Little Richard so it couldn't have been all mocking.  But that explains a lot about who the film was for.  Old guys who are like "pfff give me Julie London instead of that rock and or roll."  (I actually adore Julie, but she's old-fashioned pre-rock.)

Also the best part was the way they had Jayne say 'bouillon' over and over

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6 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Yea so apparently, according to Wiki, I think I read after, they were supposedly MOCKING rock music.  Thus, the dumb "rock on a rock pile" song or whatever.  Of course, they are including some famous rock greats like Little Richard so it couldn't have been all mocking.  But that explains a lot about who the film was for.  Old guys who are like "pfff give me Julie London instead of that rock and or roll."  (I actually adore Julie, but she's old-fashioned pre-rock.)

Also the best part was the way they had Jayne say 'bouillon' over and over

This movie was mocking rock? That might raise more questions than it answers.

Were 50 year old guys going to see this movie? I've only heard it was big with kids who tore up the theaters they were so hyped for ROCK AND ROLL!!!!

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50 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

I think they are trying to say that she can't help all the attention she gets from men. She's just that attractive. Which I get because look at Jayne Mansfield.

But she's also portrayed as an "ideal" woman or at least a 1950s ideal. She's beautiful. She's constantly dressed well. She just loves to cook. She's kind of an airhead. She just wants to make her man happy. She can't help being perfect.

I think it's that the girl can't help not wanting to be a star. She wants to fall in love, get married, cook, and make babies. I buy it because Jayne really sells that her character genuinely wants to do all of that, and she fakes being a bad singer to try to get out of it. Tom says to Fats that he wants to quit because he can't make a star out of someone who doesn't want it. Jerri has the looks, the charisma, and (secretly?) the talent, so she has what it takes to be a star, but her heart isn't in it. Also, you could argue that she can't help that she doesn't love Fats, and falls for Tom instead. I think it's more than just that she can't help being  a bombshell. 

On another note, why would a gangster want to hire a down-and-out failing agent to help Jerri make it? If Tom is so great that he can make Jerri a star, why is he not rolling in business? It would make more sense to me if Tom was super busy and didn't need the money, but that Fats was offering him something so big, Tom would put all his other business on hold just for Jerri. 

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So there was that line from Fats that rock musicians weren't talented singers, they were just offering something new. Thus, Jerri could be a star as long as she had a new sound. But I don't buy that that was the movie's thesis. 

If it were mocking rock music, it seemed to fail if it inspired the Beatles? 

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5 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

This movie was mocking rock? That might raise more questions than it answers.

Were 50 year old guys going to see this movie? I've only heard it was big with kids who tore up the theaters they were so hyped for ROCK AND ROLL!!!!

Teenagers so hyped you could wave your hand in front of their face and they wouldn't react.

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Yea that's the point.  It was intended to mock rock, but ended up showing how awesome it was.  Here's the lead quote from wiki, calling it satirical and 'unintended':

. The movie was originally intended as a vehicle for the American sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, with a satirical subplot involving teenagers and rock 'n' rollmusic. The unintended result has been called the "most potent" celebration of rock music ever captured on film.

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3 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Yea that's the point.  It was intended to mock rock, but ended up showing how awesome it was.  Here's the lead quote from wiki, calling it satirical and 'unintended':

. The movie was originally intended as a vehicle for the American sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, with a satirical subplot involving teenagers and rock 'n' rollmusic. The unintended result has been called the "most potent" celebration of rock music ever captured on film.

This doesn't even make sense. The movie has nothing going for it other than Jayne Mansfield and huge rock stars of the time.

I'm going to make an anti-hip hop movie and put Kendrick Lamar, Kanye, Drake and Kid Cudi in the movie and put their names on the poster and the movie will be named after their hit song.

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I really hate pop music! Can we go watch a movie starring Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Rihanna, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ariana Grande? I'll really enjoy how much I hate them!

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I'm sure the marketing realized who they should market it to right quick, so put their names on the poster! 

But yea I don't know, that utter lack of self-awareness does explain a lot to me about this movie haha.  The director/producer seems to be mostly known for directing Looney Tunes cartoons, Jerry Lewis movies, and being a writer for people like Bob Hope and Lucille Ball.  He was certainly not hip to the rock music.

 

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I think the Wiki page is just incorrect. It doesn't seem to cite any sources for that assertion. I can't imagine getting all those acts in one movie that turns out to be an attempt to mock them and their entire style of music? 

ETA: Here is TCM's take - http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/76287/The-Girl-Can-t-Help-It/articles.html

"Filmed by 20th Century-Fox, The Girl Can't Help It was a musical comedy, written by producer/director Frank Tashlin (who had directed Warner Bros. cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck) and Herbert Baker, based on the 1955 novelDo Re Mi by director Garson Kanin. Also in the cast were Tom Ewell, Henry Jones, Edmond O'Brien, Juanita Moore, Barry Gordon, Abby Lincoln, and Julie London. To appeal to teenagers, the filmmakers threw in several rock-n-roll stars like Eddie Cochran, Fats Domino, Gene Vincent, The Platters, and Little Richard (who sang the title song, written by London's husband, Bobby Troup). 

The plot, which is squeezed in-between seventeen musical numbers in only ninety-three minutes, revolves around mobster boyfriend "Fats" Murdock's (O'Brien) desire to make his girlfriend Jerri Jordan (Mansfield) a famous singer. The problem is, Jerri's voice is so bad, it shatters light bulbs. That doesn't stop Fats, who hires press agent Tom Miller (Ewell) to promote her. Miller made his ex-girlfriend Julie London (playing herself and singing Cry Me a River ) a star and he doesn't get involved with his clients. Miller manages to get Jerri work, but learns that she doesn't want to be a star; she just wants to be a wife and mother (another theme of the 1950s, the era of the "baby boom"). "

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I'll see what else I can find, but this article talks a little about the director: he was admired by foreign directors for his commentary on America.  Also

"And while Tashlin presents rock as little more than a novelty, the screaming manifestation of a screaming, plastic age, he shoots the acts—Little Richard, the terrific and forgotten Treniers, Abbey Lincoln, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, the Platters and others—with unalloyed pleasure."

https://observer.com/2006/08/the-girl-cant-help-it-jayne-mansfields-allure/

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This was in a post on reddit:

The Girl Can't Help It seems to exist in a philosophical paradox. It attempts to spoof rock music as a degradation of culture while simultaneously celebrating its spirit of youthful anarchy. This internal ambiguity was perhaps driven by 20th Century Fox's desire to create a film that would appeal to both hip teenagers and their un-hip parents - to bridge the impossible chasm of the "generation gap". The selection of musical performers in the film suggests that this was a conscious design. It mixes genuine Rock N' Roll heavyweights like Little Richard, Fats Domino, The Platters, Gene Vincent, and Eddie Cochran with vanguards of square "establishment" music like Ray Anthony and Julie London - and throws in oddball acts that are neither fish nor foul (like The Chuckles, a "rock" group fronted by an accordion player) for good measure.

 

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I think I might have also liked the movie better if I had a better grasp of what Jerri sees in Miller - aside from his crippling alcoholism that is.

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18 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

I think I might have also liked the movie better if I had a better grasp of what Jerri sees in Miller - aside from his crippling alcoholism that is.

He gave her a limited vocabulary so she didn't have to remember a lot of big words.  All she had to say was "Ask my agent."

Seriously though, I think it was simply that he didn't see or treat her as a sexpot.

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