Warner Archive Collection DVD Review: The Girl Most Likely (1958)

Longing for the kind of love she sees in the movies (and often disappointed in the real thing), when we first meet Jane Powell's Dodie in the newly released Warner Archive DVD of the 1958 classic The Girl Most Likely, our hopelessly romantic heroine seems much more certain that she'd like a hot dog than a husband.

Of course (and par for the Hollywood course), three proposals and roughly ninety minutes of screen time later, Dodie finds herself singing a different tune – literally – as The Girl Most Likely (To Change Her Mind) in director Mitchell Leisen's Technicolor musical remake of the 1941 black-and-white Ginger Rogers romantic comedy vehicle Tom, Dick and Harry.

Retaining some of the faster-paced original's memorably terrific one-liners, while Girl doesn't play quite as well as the first film from a screwball comedy perspective, it surpasses its predecessor in terms of sheer spectacle alone.

Bolstered by the freedom that goes hand-in-hand with the "let's put on a show" mentality of the anything goes friendly musical genre, you have to commend Girl's creators for not simply settling to make a colorized carbon copy of the original.

And admittedly, although both films rely much too heavily on the use of dream sequences to bring you inside of the confused mind of the romantically challenged Dodie, Girl works its moments of fantasy into the overall storyline far more successfully than 1941's Tom.

Stopping short of turning the original's greatest weakness into the remake's greatest strength, as the last RKO picture produced at the Hollywood studio, Girl's gifted cast and crew went above and beyond in their quest to entertain.

With choreographer Gower Champion as the film's tireless MVP, those on both sides of the camera fill the screen with so much movement, life, excitement, and color that it frequently spills outside of the frame.

Midway through the movie, Girl temporarily abandons the plot for an international variety show approach, using what feels like RKO's entire costume collection in a series of crowd-pleasing (if not exactly cohesive) numbers that pay "It's a Small World" style tribute to one country and/or culture after the next.

Fortunately realizing they have a plot to resolve – much like Powell's indecisive lead – Girl's filmmakers change their mind just in time to get things back on track for a predictably delightful conclusion.

While it still retains a bit of the original's sharp satirical edge, Girl is most effective as a frothy, fun musical film that stands as well on its own as it does as part of an impromptu Warner Archive double feature with the collection's earlier DVD release of Tom, Dick and Harry.

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