USA / Twentieth Century Fox / 97 minutes / 1956 Cinemascope and Eastmancolor
Writers: Frank Tashlin, Herbert Baker / Story: Do Re Mi by Garson Kanin / Cinematography: Leon Shamroy / Musical Director: Lionel Newman / Producer and Director: Frank Tashlin
Cast: Jayne Mansfield, Tom Ewell, Edmond O’Brien, Henry Jones, John Emery, Julie London, Ray Anthony, Fats Domino, Little Richard, The Platters
Back in the mid 1950’s Hollywood seemingly realised that rock n roll was going to last for more than 24 hours and here was a huge audience for movies tapping into rock n roll culture, easily the best movie to emerge from that period is The Girl Can’t Help It, now released on DVD by Umbrella, shot in gorgeous widescreen technicolour (probably just to make sure all of Jayne Mansfield’s attributes managed to get on screen). The plot is hoky (Mansfield plays the ultimate dumb blonde gangsters moll who wants to be a star. Tom Ewell, who also partnered with Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, is the agent ordered to transform her into one) but it’s the supporting cast of up and coming soon to be rock n roll legends that makes it essential, everyone from Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, Fats Domino and The Platters all pop up and its all the more noteworthy considering black acts still were not being properly accepted on the music charts.
The movie itself is also pretty funny, Jayne Mansfield is happy to play up to her image and not take things too seriously, yes she is a caricature but at least she knows she is, for anyone interested in the early days of rock n roll The Girl Can’t Help It is essential, its also great fun in its own right.