I Don’t Give a Hang(way)
Old Jack Cole was a merry old soul.
Regular Shadowplayer La Faustin pointed me in the direction of THE I DON’T CARE GIRL, an iffy
MGM Fox musical with some spectacular musical numbers by Jack Cole. Cole is famous for directing the songs in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES and LES GIRLS and SOME LIKE IT HOT, but turned loose on a full MGM musical (though produced not by Arthur Freed but by comedian George Jessel, who appears as himself) he excels himself.
First, the numbers are an object lesson in how to make a limited colour palette even more eye-searing than the typical MGM or Goldwyn rainbow hemorrhage. Second, they turn indifferent songs into funny, entertaining blasts of excitement. Third, they make you go GAY all of a sudden. They should have shown these to Malcolm McDowell in CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Skip the aversion therapy and drugs, just turn him! Of course, he might not be safe to release after that, but it’d on the whole be safer than keeping him in prison…
I don’t really know Mitzi Gaynor much. But she can dance.
Number one features Oscar Levant, MGM’s resident intellectual.
Number two features Levant again, and David Wayne, the child-killer from Losey’s M. They make pretty good combination, better than FEATHERS and FIRE, anyway — was Cole plotting to assassinate his star?
I quite like this song, but the lyric “I’m Eva Tanguay / I don’t give a hang(way)” is really unforgivable.
(Milos Forman tells the story of filming a scene in AMADEUS in an 18th century wooden theatre with candles for stage lighting. An actor wearing elaborate plumage wafted too close to a footlight and flames started to flicker up his costume. Forman watched in disbelief as everybody just carried on as if nothing was happening, including the ablaze singer, despite the elaborate fire drills they had been through. Finally he yelled “Cut!” and got the fire extinguishers in — it turned out the whole crew were so scared of Forman’s temper they hadn’t dared to interrupt a take.)
In number three, you may be able to spot Gwen Verdon and Julie Newmar.