In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_xkcnr9xvmtfrsuehmlm5ql5urdn

Make Your Move

With camerawork and editing that allows us to truly enjoy the footwork of its stars, "Make Your Move" is a vibrant, fun dance movie.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Other Articles
Far Flunger Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Cast and Crew

* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.

Opening Shots: The Girl Can't Help It

View image

Welcome back to the Opening Shots Project -- which has been on a bit of an unscheduled hiatus simply because I've had too much else going on. To get us back into the swing of things, I present the introduction to the great 1956 rock 'n' roll musical musical comedy, "The Girl Can't Help It," directed (unmistakably) by former Looney Tunes animator Frank Tashlin.

View image

View image

Our tuxedoed host (and co-star) Tom Ewell -- coming off a pairing with another pneumatic blonde, Marilyn Monroe, in the previous year's "The Seven Year Itch" -- introduces the film with the proper gravitas. No, this is not the spokesman for Mr. Carl Laemmle, warning us that we may be horrified or even shocked by the specter of "Frankenstein." Mr. Ewell, instead, plays our genial -- if a bit formal -- emcee: "Ladies and gentlemen, the motion picture you are about to see is a story of music." The set -- with musical instruments tastefully floating around the soundstage -- looks like it could be from a live-action black-and-white version of "Fantasia."

View image

Ewell modestly explains his role in the story and proclaims: "This motion picture was photographed in the grandeur of CinemaScope, and... gorgeous, lifelike color by DeLuxe." It takes a little effort, but he manages to push the frame into the proper aspect ratio and add color to the emulsion.

[Discreet cut to medium shot here.]

In short order, the music Little Richard bursts from a jukebox -- "not the music of long ago, but the music that expresses the culture, the refinement and the polite grace of the present day" -- drowning out out Mr. Ewell completely. The montage that follows, of colorfully lit couples tearing up the soundstage floor will be evoked in the credits for David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" years later.

But for now, it's Jayne Mansfield who explodes onto the screen in the grandeur of CinemaScope and in gorgeous, lifelike color by DeLuxe -- or rather, garish, lurid color by DeLuxe, and we wouldn't want it any other way. Then it's one politely graceful act after another: not only Ms. Mansfield and Little Richard, but Fats Domino, Abbey Lincoln, The Platters, Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, Eddie Cochran, The Treniers, and Julie London, Julie London, Julie London and Julie London. She can't help it.

Continue reading →