The Girl Can’t Help It is the ultimate over-the-top Hollywood rock ‘n’ roll movie and is a glorious film that Divine and John Waters watched religiously. Apparently even those horrid Beatles were highly influenced by the film.
The movie opens in black and white with Tom Miller explaining that the film is photographed in cinemascope. He proceeds to make the screen bigger and the image turns from black and white to color. He then says the film is presented in gorgeous life-like color by deluxe. * John Waters used the same type of gimmick for Polyester (Odorama).
Marty (Fatso) Murdock an ex crook, employs Tom Ewell to make Jerri Jordan (Jayne Mansfield) a star. Jerri is domestic, loves cooking and cleaning, is the perfect Suzy-homemaker, and is not looking to be a career woman. She fakes her voice and sings awfully to the point where Tom refuses to use her. Jerri has a hit which consist of her only squealing one note. In the end she sings and has an amazing voice which surprises Tom.
I wouldn’t call this movie a love-story, but there is a love triangle going on and it seems pretty clear from the start that Jerri and her agent are going to fall in love. The movie ends similar to how it starts – the happy couple come out with their children and proclaim the movie to be a story about music, love, marriage and baby sitters.It’s a beautiful blend of high-drama, comedy, rock ‘n’ roll, camp and pop-culture.
If you are a Jayne Mansfield fan you will dig this movie, in my eyes it is her best role. She looks and acts her best especially when compared to some shockers such as The Las Vegas Hillbillys and Primitive Love. For all you fans of rock ‘n’ roll music we are treated to performances by Fats Domino, The Platters, Little Richard and his band, Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps, The Treniers, The Chuckles, Johnny Glenn, Nino Tempo, Eddie Cochran, Abbey Lincoln and Eddie Fontaine. All shot and lit gorgeously.
The Girl Can’t Help it was quite audacious for a mainstream film considering the year it was made. The colors, the use of leopard print and the crude sexual tones. Jayne melts blocks of ice when she walks by and as she passes by the milkman (who is holding a bottle of milk) the milk overflows. She also carries two milk bottles in front of her chest – Director Frank Tashlin once said “There’s nothing in the world to me that’s funnier than big breasts.”
You can definitely see the influence this movie has had on certain filmmakers such as John Waters and I have to wonder if David Lynch was influenced by it too. The opening dance scene in Mulholland Drive is very similar to the opening dance scene in The Girl Can’t Help It.
The Umbrella release of the DVD features Cult Director John Waters on The Girl Can’t Help It which runs for 20 minutes and is highly entertaining and a nice bonus. The amount of personal trivia, wit and cultural insight he packs into the segment is worth repeated viewing.