American Film of the 50s- The Girl Can’t Help it, by Aaron Pinkston

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2 Responses

  1. Scott Nye says:

    As I alluded in my comment on your first piece in this series, I love THE GIRL CAN’T HELP it to a perhaps excessive extent. There’s almost nothing in that picture that doesn’t work for me, from Tashlin literally pushing the limits of the frame to his cartoonish exaggeration of reality, embodied best of all by Mansfield herself, who, while not nearly the performer Monroe was, was certainly a formidable screen presence even with a fairly restrictive role (being asked to embody both sexpot Marilyn and 50s homemaker-to-be).

    BUT, what’s perhaps most interesting about the film is that, if I recall correctly, Tashlin despised rock-n-roll, and set out to condemn this rising musical trend that the kids were so crazy about (as well as taking down television, which he does far more successfully), but in the process made one of the great odes to one of the greatest eras of American music. It’s a film loaded to the brim with personality and life and genuine perspective that’s snide without feeling overly cruel, playful without being childish (true of Tashlin’s animated work as well), and just a blast throughout. Glad you dug it.

    • The stance on rock’n’roll is interesting, and perhaps I could have dived into it a bit more. I think that over time, with how people view this era now, the music stands out positively – from what I gather, Tashlin was trying to showcase that the genre didn’t have a lot of actual musical talent and that it warped the minds of teens. You see a bit of the control in the final scenes, but the music definitely gives a life to the film that it wouldn’t have had otherwise.

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