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Les Girls is a 1957 musical starring Gene Kelly, Kay Kendall, Mitzi Gaynor and Taina Elg.  Sybil Wren (Kendall) has written a tell-all book about her time spent in the touring dance troupe Les Girls, which is run by Barry Nicholls (Kelly).  In the book, Sybil says that one of the other dancers, Angele (Elg) tried to commit suicide after an affair with Barry ended.  However, Angele says that this is incorrect and that it was actually Sybil herself who had the affair with Barry and who subsequently tried to kill herself.  The case has come to court and both ladies in turn present their side of the story which is told in flashback from their respective points of view.  Finally, Barry himself takes the stand and tells of events through his eyes…

This was Gene Kelly’s last film under his contract with MGM, and it was a great ending to a truly incredible partnership.  It’s true that there are probably fewer song/dance numbers in this one than in some of the other Kelly/MGM movies.  But the songs, courtesy of Cole Porter, are great (perhaps not Porter’s best, but still hugely enjoyable), and the dancing as ever is simply a joy to watch.  My favourite dance was the Kelly/Gaynor number ‘Why Am I So Gone About That Gal?’  I also really liked the Kelly/Kendall dance to ‘You’re Just Too Too’.

I am aware that the plot device of telling the same story from three very different points of view did not work for some viewers, but I really liked it – people do have different perceptions of the same events, and that point is illustrated beautifully here.  There is plenty of scope for humour (Kay Kendall is simply hilarious in the second ‘segment’), and Kelly as ever is graceful, manly and oh-so-charismatic.  Mitzi Gaynor looks stunning in what is for most of the film, a supporting role, but she comes into her own towards the end.

Overall, it may not be my favourite Gene Kelly film (they can’t all be my favourite after all!), but it was a very enjoyable couple of hours, and I would certainly recommend it to fans of any of the stars, or musicals and/or comedy.

(Sadly Kay Kendall died just two years after making this film; her performance here serves as a reminder of the talent that was lost tragically early.)

Year of release: 1957

Director: George Cukor

Writers: John Patrick, Vera Caspary

Main cast: Gene Kelly, Kay Kendall, Mitzi Gaynor

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