"The Girl Can't Help It" Is Released
The Girl Can't Help It is a 1956 comedy/musical film, starring Jayne Mansfield, Tom Ewell, and Edmond O'Brien.
It was produced and directed by Frank Tashlin, with a screenplay written by Frank Tashlin and Herbert Baker from an uncredited novel Do Re Me by Garson Kanin. The movie was originally intended as a Hollywood screen-vehicle for the American sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, with the subplot being a satire of teenagers and their rock ‘n’ roll music. The unintended result is the “most potent” celebration of rock music ever captured on film.
The original music score, including the title song by Little Richard, was by Bobby Troup, with an additional credit to Ray Anthony for the tune "Big Band Boogie". It was shot in DeLuxe Color, filmed in CinemaScope, and runs 99 minutes.
The inimitable writer-director Frank Tashlin once more aims his satiric barbs at modern culture (modern 1950s culture, that is) in The Girl Can't Help It. Much of the film is dominated by Edmond O'Brien as mob boss Murdock, who while serving a term in federal prison becomes a singing sensation with his hit tune "Rock Around the Rock Pile." Once he's sprung, Murdock hires impoverished agent Tom Miller (Tom Ewell), not to promote his own career, but to turn his curvaceous lady friend Jerri Jordan (Jayne Mansfield) into a star. Alas, Jerri has no singing or acting talent whatsoever, a fact that she's eager and willing to admit. A domestic type at heart, all Jerri really wants out of life is to marry Murdock, so that she can clean his house, cook his meals and raise his children. When Murdock refuses to grant her wishes, Jerri falls in love with Tom instead. Every so often, director Tashlin takes time out from the plot to poke fun at such technical marvels as CinemaScope and Technicolor, and to lampoon the American male's fixation on female bosoms and bottoms (at one point, Jayne Mansfield leans towards the camera, her cleavage exposed as far as the censors will allow, and plaintively asks Tom Ewell if he believes that she's equipped for motherhood). While much of the humor in the film is dated, The Girl Can't Help It is an invaluable record of the pop-music scene of the 1950s, featuring such guest artists as Julie London (playing Tom Ewell's dream girl), Ray Anthony, Fats Domino, The Platters, Little Richard and his Band, Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps, the Treniers, Eddie Fontaine, Abbey Lincoln and Eddie Cochran. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide