DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Comedy at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main

George Cukor
Gene Kelly, Mitzi Gaynor, Kay Kendall
John Patrick
Sybil Wren writes a tell-all book about her days in the dance troupe "Barry Nichols and Les Girls" and finds herself the subject of a libel lawsuit.
Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 114 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 4/17/2018

• “Cole Porter in Hollywood” Featurette
• Vintage Cartoon
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Les Girls [Blu-Ray] (1957)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 9, 2018)

Though best-known as the star of classic musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, 1957’s Les Girls essentially acted as Gene Kelly’s farewell to the genre. While he didn’t totally avoid that sort of film, Kelly veered away from his bread and butter over the later years of his career.

Paired with legendary director George Cukor, Kelly stars as the headline performer in a revue called “Barry Nichols and Les Girls”. When dancer Sybil Wren (Kay Kendall) leaves the troupe, she writes a “tell-all” book about her experiences.

This doesn’t sit well with others, and fellow dancer Angèle Ducros (Taina Elg) sues Sybil for libel. This leads to a series of testimonials about what “really happened” – all of which offer distinctly different perspectives.

That sounds like Rashomon: The Musical, and this doesn’t seem like an unfair interpretation. We get three takes on the same material, each version told by a different “girl”.

In theory, that sounds like a fun idea for a musical. Sure, the Rashomon motif has been beaten to death over the decades, but it can turn into an enjoyable way to tell a story, so at its core, Girls shows potential.

Unfortunately, the end result lacks life. The narrative elements fail to connect, and the rest of the film can’t compensate.

Girls doesn’t act as a “standard musical” – ie, one in which the songs tell story/character information. Instead, the production numbers tend to come from Barry’s stage show, a factor that means they fail to integrate into the narrative especially well.

That said, the movie doesn’t always grind to a halt to throw a showtune our way. For instance, “Ladies in Waiting” manages to integrate clear character and plot momentum. It’s the exception, though, and the song itself doesn’t advance the narrative – all the story material exists outside of the lyrics.

Perhaps because it doesn’t use the songs to tell the story, Girls lacks a slew of production numbers, a factor that probably should make me happy. Never a big fan of musicals, the film’s heavier emphasis on the characters and plot elements should turn Girls into something I enjoy more than the average genre effort.

And in theory, it does, though the song/dance bits still create a weakness. That’s less because of my aversion for the format and more because the film’s production numbers simply aren’t especially good.

I can appreciate and enjoy a clever, well-executed musical sequence, but as depicted in Girls, these segments feel perfunctory and flat. The songs don’t stand out as memorable and the choreography/staging don’t bring out a lot of pizzazz.

Despite his star status, Kelly ends up more in the background than expected, and that might not be a bad thing. I’ve always found Kelly to offer a charming, likable cinematic presence, but he seems detached here, as he seems to lack much energy or investment in the proceedings.

I can’t claim to blame him, as Girls doesn’t deserve “A”-level effort. A slow musical without much to recommend beyond a fun storytelling device, this becomes a disappointment.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus D+

Les Girls appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Given the limitations of the source, this became an appealing image.

For the most part, sharpness seemed fine. Softness affected some wider shots, though not on a consistent basis. The majority of the flick appeared crisp and concise, and the occasional instance of softness could be chalked up to the original photography, which hasn’t always aged well.

No issues with jagged edges or edge haloes materialized, and shimmering was absent. Source flaws were also a non-factor, and the movie boasted a nice sense of grain.

Colors often looked quite positive, as the movie featured a broad palette that showed up well here. The various hues demonstrated nice clarity and vivacity much of the time, though the drawbacks of films shot on Eastmancolor stock become an issue, so expect a few shots with somewhat dull hues.

Blacks showed good depth and darkness, and shadows offered nice clarity. Though not an objectively great image, the presentation held up well within its photographic constraints.

On the positive side, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack displayed fine stereo separation and breadth, as the songs all sounded clear and crisp. Since this was a musical, it's very important that the tunes were portrayed in the best possible light, and this presentation did nicely in that regard.

Dialogue was more of a mixed bag, though for the most part, I found speech to sound clean and acceptably natural. The mix used some localized speech that worked reasonably well. Sometimes the placement was a bit off, but the lines usually popped up in the logical spots.

Effects also panned between channels, but this was done to a more gentle degree. Those elements added a little life to the mix. They didn’t have a ton to do, but they seemed positive for a film of this sort.

Surround usage remained minor, as the back speakers favored reinforcement of the forward soundstage. Honestly, it’d be easy to forget the rear channels existed, as this stayed a heavily front-loaded mix.

Still, that was fine with me, especially because the stereo soundscape worked so well. I thought the mix held up in a positive way.

A few minor extras round out the set, and we begin with Cole Porter in Hollywood: Ca C’est L’amour. In this eight-minute, 44-second featurette, actor Taina Elg discusses aspects of the production and her involvement in it. This becomes a brief but reasonably engaging piece.

In addition to the film’s trailer, a get a vintage cartoon called The Flea Circus. From 1954, this Tex Avery-directed affair connects to Les Girls because it presents a Parisian variety show – albeit one that stars fleas. It’s a cute addition.

As a musical variation on the Rashomon template, Les Girls sounds like a potential winner, and the presence of the legendary Gene Kelly adds to this perception. Alas, the movie does little to stand out in a positive way, as all its elements remain ordinary. The Blu-ray brings us largely good picture and audio with a few minor bonus features. I hoped to enjoy Les Girls but found myself disenchanted with the plodding end product.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main