Musical Monday: The Girl Most Likely (1958)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
The Girl Most Likely (1958) – Musical #96

Studio:
RKO Pictures

Director:
Mitchell Leisen

Starring:
Jane Powell, Cliff Robertson, Keith Andes, Una Merkel, Kaye Ballard, Tommy Noonan, Frank Cady, Judy Nugent, Kelly Brown

Plot:
Dodie (Powell) is a dreamer who wants to get married to a millionaire. Her real-estate boyfriend Buzz (Noonan) proposes after he gets a raise, and she uncertainly accepts. Shortly after she meets Pete (Robertson), who she believes is a millionaire but is only a mechanic. She enjoys Pete’s company, and then meets a real millionaire, Neil Patterson, Jr. (Andres), which is what she has always dreamed of. With proposals from all three men, Dodie then has to pick which man she wants to marry.

Trivia:
– Remake of Tom, Dick and Harry (1941), starring Ginger Rogers
– Jane Powell’s last musical film
– This was the last film produced by RKO and was distributed by Universal Pictures. It was released two years after it was made.
– Kaye Ballard’s first feature film
– Director Mitchell Leisen last film he directed. After this, he directed on television.
– In November 1956, the Los Angeles Times reported that Carol Channing was to co-star as Powell’s best friend, but Channing was not in the film.
– Tommy Noonan is dubbed by Robert C. Oates
– Cliff Robertson is dubbed by Hal Derwin

Jane Powell with Tommy Noonan, Cliff Robertson and Keith Andes in “The Girl Most Likely”

Highlights:
– The pink clouds with angels singing when Jane Powell gets kissed

Notable Songs:
– “The Girl Most Likely” performed by a the Hi-Los over the credits
– “I Don’t Know What I Want” performed by Jane Powell

My review:
Jane Powell is a favorite of mine, but “The Girl Most Likely” is far from her best film, yet it still holds a certain charm because of Jane.

The problem with “The Girl Most Likely” is that it would have been better as a straight comedy. The songs, which mainly manifest themselves in dream sequences, are lousy. The worst are “We Gotta Keep Up With the Joneses,” a frantic dream sequence about keeping up with your neighbors; and “Crazy Horse,” where Jane and Cliff Robertson are dressed as Indians and she imagines having his six children.

While some of the songs are terrible and drag on, the film is very colorful and pretty costumes designed by Renié. This is also another musical remake of a 1940s comedy. It reworks “Tom, Dick and Harry” (1941) which starred Ginger Rogers, Burgess Meredith, George Muphry and Alan Marshall.

“The Girl Most Likely” marked the end for many things. It attempts one last hoorah of the musical era when it was dying fast.

It was Jane Powell’s last musical and her second to last film. She had performed in musicals at MGM since 1946, had left MGM. It also marked the last film directed by Michell Leisen, who opted to direct television in the 1960s.

And it was the end of RKO, which was created in 1928. “The Girl Most Likely” was the last movie filmed at RKO. The film was then distributed by Universal. While filming was going on, offices were closing up at RKO and construction crews would ask director Mitchell Leisen if he was done with an area so they could start tearing it down.

While this musical marks the end of careers and a studio era, it still is rather light and colorful. It’s sad to see a glittering career like Jane Powell come to an end, but even her last (and perhaps worst) film is better than the final films of her contemporaries.

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