Ask Any Girl (MGM 1959, David Niven, Shirley Maclaine)

Ask Any Girl

Bright and breezy comedy Ask Any Girl casts SHIRLEY MACLAINE as Meg Wheeler, a small-town Pennsylvanian who, arriving in New York in search of a husband and a career, winds up in a hotel for women that she shares with Lisa (CLAIRE KELLY), Jenny (ELISABETH FRASER) and Terri (DODY HEATH). Meg lands a job as receptionist in a sweater factory and a date with lothario Ross Tayfor (ROD TAYLOR) who takes her home to Connecticut to meet his family. They, conveniently, are away.

Shocked, Meg calls off their putative romance and when, back at work, boss Maxwell (JIM BACKUS) makes a lecherous play for her, she resigns. She lands a new job as a field research worker at an advertising agency where slightly prissy agency head, Miles Doughton, (DAVID NIVEN) rejects her, leaving his wolfish brother Evan (GIG YOUNG) to hire and woo her. Meg falls for Evan but as far as he is concerned, she is merely another addition to his harem. Miles, taking pity on her, tries to help and using his skill in motivational research, advises Meg on the sort of composite girl she needs to become to snare Evan. The plot works and Evan proposes marriage. But now Meg realises she really wants Miles.

The dialogue sparkles and there are plenty of verbal and visual jokes and director Charles Walters does a smooth job of keeping the light romantic-comic piece on its toes and his smart direction, in particular, of Maclaine helps her carry her delightful performance – and the film – to a triumphant conclusion.

USA / MGM – Euterpe / 98 minutes / 1959 Filmed in Metrocolor and Cinemascope

Writer: George Wells, from the novel by Winifred Wohle / Music: Jeff Alexander / Cinematography: Robert Bronner / Producer: Joe Pasternak / Director: Charles Walters

Cast: David Niven, Shirley Maclaine, Gig Young, Rod Taylor, Jim Backus, Claire Kelly, Elisabeth Fraser