» » The Girl Most Likely (1958)

Short summary

Dodie dreams of marrying a millionaire so that she can live 'the life'. Buzz, her boyfriend, however is not rich as he is a salesman for a housing development. He proposes and Dodie accepts. Dodie next meets Pete, who she thinks is rich, but she soon finds out that he is just a boat mechanic. They have fun on their date and Pete proposes and Dodie accepts. Then Dodie meets Neil Patterson who is rich. They go to Mexico on his yacht and have fun on their date. Neil proposes and Dodie accepts. Now she has to choose.

The was the last movie to be shot at the RKO Hollywood studio at 780 Gower Street. Filming took place between early September and early November 1956 and again during the week of January 8, 1957. After sitting on the shelf for over a year, Universal International picked up the distribution rights, and the feature finally went into wide release in Febbruary 1958 on a double bill with Day of the Badman (1958), a Universal International production starring Fred MacMurray. Janer Powell quipped in a 1987 "Films in Review" profile that Universal didn't release the film; they simply allowed it to "escape." Out of respect for RKO, who had not actually produced the film, but who had been its intended distributor, Universal left its original RKO logo intact on the beginning and end titles, and this is the way it's now seen on TCM.

According to director Mitchell Leisen, since this was the last film made at the RKO studio, a wrecking crew followed him around during shooting and, every time he wrapped a scene, the foreman of the wrecking crew asked him if he was absolutely finished with that set and wouldn't be needing it again. If Leisen said yes, the foreman called his crew in and they demolished the set as soon as Leisen was done with it.

Kaye Ballard's film debut.

Buzz (Tommy Noonan) drives a 1952 Plymouth;

The Castles-by-the-Sea homes are selling for $13,995.95 on Balboa Island, Newport Beach, California.

Cliff Robertson was forced to subject himself to a body wax treatment in order to have his chest hair removed for the 'Balboa' number.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: Meztisho
    JANE POWELL seems to be enjoying herself in this cheerful little mixture of music and romance. However, the film itself never succeeds in looking much more than a low-budget musical with fake RKO sets that belong in a B-movie rather than a color musical. Despite this, there are pleasant performances by Jane Powell, Cliff Robertson, Tommy Noonan, Keith Andes and Kaye Ballard that compensate for a story that's been told before as "Tom, Dick and Harry" with Ginger Rogers back in 1941 (in B&W and without music).

    Jane is just as pert and pretty as Ginger Rogers in the role of a girl who can't decide which man puts her on cloud nine until she finally wakes up at the last moment on the basis of the right kiss. It's all strictly fluff meant to entertain and in its own way it succeeds beautifully, thanks to Powell's effortless charm.

    She's also in good voice but is given a number of songs by Blaine and Martin that have no lasting appeal. She delivers them all in a lilting and rich vocal style. Cliff Robertson was obviously a bit ill at ease in his musical sequences but provides a hunky presence as one of her smitten suitors. Tommy Noonan provides most of the comedy relief and Keith Andes has a role he can do virtually nothing with.

    There's a rather imaginative American Indian song-and-dance routine that is sure to offend some of the politically correct crowd who can't accept the sort of stereotyping that was done in films of the 1950s. A similar number from ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (and one of the highlights of the MGM film) was cut from the latest Broadway version to placate the PC protesters.

    It's the last theatrical film directed by Mitchell Leisen who was then near the end of his distinguished career directing a variety of films. This has got to be one of his lesser efforts but it has a certain charm as the last gasp of the musical era. RKO was virtually at a shutdown by the time the film was completed and it was released two years after being made on the lower half of a double bill.
  • comment
    • Author: Bragis
    There were quite a few low budget musicals made during the '50s that were mostly insignificant but very watchable because they made no pretense at being "great." "The Girl Most Likely" is one of the more likable. There's some wonderfully exuberant choreography by Gower Champion and the score contains a few songs that any musical would be proud to own. This was a musical remake (as so many of this type were) of Garson Kanin's "Tom, Dick and Harry."
  • comment
    • Author: Steel_Blade
    This is one of the last 50s style musical comedies and the final film to present Jane Powell as a singing star. She is supported by Keith Andes, who can truly sing, and comedy by Tommy Noonan and Kaye Ballard. Cliff Robertson's singing is dubbed by Hal Derwin. The songs are only serviceable, even though they are written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, who gave us "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Best Foot Forward". The best musical number, however, is the title tune, actually written by Nelson Riddle, with a vocal by the Hi-Los. Riddle's arrangements, which never seem to date, keep the music interesting. As for the plot, there isn't much of one. As for the comedy, both Noonan and Ballard were better served elsewhere. The choreography, however, is spectacular; this is Gower Champion's first attempt to stage dances for performers other than himself and wife Marge. From here, Champion went to Broadway and became a legend.
  • comment
    • Author: Ygglune
    This would be the last musical Jane Powell ever made and it's one of her best movies. It was one of the last movies RKO made. They made quite a few films I have liked over the years. She plays the daughter of Frank Cady and Una Merkel(two of the best). Her best friend is played by Kaye Ballard. Jane has three men after her in the movie. First there is Tommy Noonan who loves her from the start. Next Keith Andes takes her fancy. Then finally she sees Cliff Robertson. She thinks she wants to marry a rich man, but she only thinks it's a dream. Jane Powell really looks mature and beautiful in this film. Her voice might be the best here for me because I am not a big fan of her high notes she used to hold in her early movies. I still just love her, she is so likable. Jane jumps into the ocean and meets Cliff. He takes her to shore in his boat. She thinks he owns a yacht. He actually is just a repairman. Cliff really looks in his prime here as well. They have a date that night. Jane looks stunning in a white dress as she comes down the stairs. Cliff instantly falls for her. They have a nice song and dance number on the beach with others. She loses interest in Tommy and then she meets Keith. She makes a date with him. She decides to stay with him until she kisses Cliff one more time. She gets a glow from kissing him and Keith does not give her a glow. She ends up with Cliff. A nice movie and a good way to spend an hour and thirty eight minutes.
  • comment
    • Author: Sharpbringer
    This was the end of Jane Powells career in the movies. It's not a very good movie to end a brilliant career with, but it's entertaining, and the history of the cast should be mentioned: First we have Jane Powell who started out in movies as a child performer and made it to big time which is something that most child actors and actress' couldn't do. Very few made it such as Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds both born of April Fools Day, Natalie Wood, just to mention a few. Cliff Robertson was a known actor but never really made it to star-status. Keith Andes was a fine singer and had played the lead role in Kiss Me Kate on Broadway, but never really made it in Hollywood as an actor or the excellent singer that he was. Kaye Ballard was known for her cukoo comedy talents and had appeared as one of the Wicked-Step Sisters in the original Juile Andrews version of Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella on T.V., and played in the Mothers-In-Law on T.V. with the other Mother in Law Eve Arden. Una Merkel made herself into a star by playing secondary roles such as Kitty Kelly in The Merry Widow with Land Tuner and the housekeeper in Rich, Young, and Rretty, again, with Jane Powell. Kelly Brown appeared in the movie Oklahoma and Seven Brides for Seven Browthers as one of town-folks line-dancer, but if you were a dancer you knew who he was, and Tommy Noonan made himself into a star by playing secondary roles such as Marily Monores dim-witted husband to be in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but his best role was as the gum-chewing Pianist in A Star is Born with Judy Garland. In fact, Noonan showed that he was a fine actor by stealing the last scene from Judy Garland in A Star Is Born when he tells her how pitiful she's behaving since Norman Maine had committed suicide, but there is one person in the line-dancers that's had a history that no one knows about.

    Here's in Cincinnati, Ohio, we have had our share of famous actors and actress' such as Doris Day, Tyrone Power, George Chikarus, Vera Ellen, and a very famous criminal with the initials of C.M. that we don't like to talk about. Harvey Evens is from our area. He had been studying dancing with Harris Rosedale, I know this to be a fact because I was there too, but his name was Harvey Honnacker. I guess he changed his last name to Evans because he couldn't get his last name up in lights. Too long. So, I remember one day he came into the studio and said, "I have nothing here" and went to study with Leo and Rita McNeil. Later he went to New York. Then he went to Hollywood where he did chorus work in The Pajama Game, West Side Story under his original name, and The Girl Most Likely. Later he did the T.V. version of Applause playing the gay hair-dresser and friend of Margo Channing played by Lauren Bacall. Since I knew LeRoy Reams who played the role originally, I asked LeRoy if he had recommended Harvey to play his role, and he said no; that he got it on his own. I'm not sure, but I heard through certain channels that Harvey passed away. What a talent he was. I remember seeing him in a dance recital given by the O'Neils when he was there and he sang a jazzed up version of Indian Love Call and did a dance ending up with his jumping up on the side on stage and back down like James Cagney did in Yankee Doodle Dandy. What a talent he was. It's just a shame he, like many others, were never allowed to show the full power of their talent in the entertainment field!
  • comment
    • Author: Tholmeena
    This is one of my all time favorite movies. I love the soundtrack and the musical numbers. I bought the soundtrack first and fell in love with music without even knowing what the movie was about. Then I saw the movie and loved it! The cast is wonderful! Jane Powell is beautiful and her voice...amazing! Cliff Robertson, Keith Andes, and Tommy Noonan are great as the intendeds and Kay Ballard plays a great sidekick. The musical number at the beach is so fun and energetic and I love the musical number with Jane and Cliff as an Indian couple with a tribe of kids. It's a delightful, happy movie to curl up to and enjoy. It takes you back to much simpler, innocent days. I love seeing the small California beach towns, such as Balboa, as they were in the 50's. I've looked everywhere to try to find a copy of the movie and I can' t find it. I hope it is re-released someday soon!
  • comment
    • Author: Duktilar
    I saw this one at a theater in Westwood, California during its initial release and hadn't remembered much about it except for the lilting title song performed by the Hi-Lo's (the very best of the male singing quartets of that era) and the lively "Balboa" dance number with a flotilla of dancers splashing through the water's edge on a partially flooded soundstage setting.

    Turner Classic Movies showed it earlier today and, oh my!, what a tremendous waste of the various talents involved. Almost everyone in the cast, except for Cliff Robertson, whom I've always found to be close to terminally bland, is criminally underused. The Newport/Balboa Island setting for most of the action isn't capitalized on, except for the title sequence. The production numbers are almost all sub-par, not coming close to the norm in Jane Powell's M-G-M extravaganzas. The treatment of Mexican nationals and American Indians is typical of 1950s all-white heedlessness. And the script is about as silly as they come by any standard, with Jane's final choice of her three suitors (cued by that "Pink Cloud Feeling") being the fadeout disappointment.

    Gower Champion's ability to get a troupe of talented dancers into showing some real razzle-dazzle is best showcased in the "Balboa" number and Nelson Riddle's arrangements almost redeem the surprisingly lackluster songs by the usually reliable Ralph Martin and Hugh Blane (who weren't responsible for the listenable title song). All in all, if RKO Radio Pictures weren't already moribund, this one was sure to provide the final nail in its coffin.
  • comment
    • Author: Invissibale
    There is this blonde who meets a man and, oh, mama, falls in love and gets engaged immediately. Uh-oh. The poor poor blonds forgot that she was already engaged. Then the blonds meets another guy and gets engaged for a third time. She forgot again!!! It is so silly, and we laugh and laugh.

    The poor guys get together and commiserate with her predicament. They are very helpful. They want her to take her time. They just want what is best for her.

    No one is offended by her. She is not a slut. She just somehow found herself cheating on three men at once. No one questions her ethics. The men think she is wonderful.

    Finally, she chooses one of the men, and then almost immediately double-crosses the poor sap. The final song triumphantly proclaims that the blonde slut has finally found true love.

    The movie ends with her speeding away on a boat with the last man she kissed. He is smiling and seems very happy. Perhaps it is because he knows that she won't be able to cheat on him until they hit land.

    And maybe, just maybe, he is smiling because he is going to make sure she never gets to land.
  • comment
    • Author: Gunos
    This was almost identical to Ginger Rogers' "Tom,Dick and Harry" from 1941.
  • comment
    • Author: the monster
    This musical version of Tom Dick and Harry (1941) is one of the few remakes which is better than the original, and Jane Powell is the reason. Her characterization of the title character, Dodie, is far superior to Ginger Rogers's performance in the first movie.

    Directed by Mitchell Leisen with a screenplay by Devery Freeman (based on Paul Jarrico's original, Oscar nominated screenplay), this musical comedy features Cliff Robertson as Pete, a poor boat mechanic, Keith Andes as millionaire playboy Neil Patterson Jr., and Tommy Noonan as Buzz, Dodie's longtime yet unexciting steady who's an ambitious real estate salesman - all three get engaged to Dodie at the same time! Rounding out the cast are Kaye Ballard as Dodie's best friend and co-worker Marge, Kelly Brown as Marge's sailor boyfriend Sam Kelsey, Una Merkel as Dodie's mom, Judy Nugent as Dodie's kid sister Pauline, and Frank Cady as Dodie's father. Joseph Kearns appears uncredited as Dodie and Marge's bank manager boss, Mr. Schlom.

    Poor Dodie has always wanted to marry a millionaire, she even jumps off a ferry into the channel near her home hoping to meet one. Through a case of mistaken identity, she briefly believes that boat mechanic Pete is really Neil Patterson Jr., but soon learns otherwise. Still, when she kisses Pete, she experiences a special sensation complete with pink clouds, something she's never 'seen' while kissing her boyfriend Buzz, to whom she'd finally agreed (out of boredom?) to marry ... so she agrees to Pete's proposal as well! Later, when she and Pete 'rescue' the tipsy Patterson Jr., who'd gotten separated from his yacht, Dodie gets to know the young millionaire enough on a cruise to Tijuana that she ends up promised to him as well. Marge, who gets the incredulous scoop from Dodie at work while they're under the watchful eye of Mr. Schlom, also happens to be in Mexico with her nautical boyfriend Sam. In the end, of course, Dodie must decide between her three betrothed and choose her one true fiancé, and future husband.

    Songwriters Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane wrote the five songs that Powell and company sing; the Hi-Lo's sing the Bob Russell-Nelson Riddle title song.
  • comment
    • Author: Coiriel
    The Girl Most Likely - 1958

    Jane Powell and the entire cast of this excellent and very enjoyable musical are completely wonderful. The cast just knocked themselves out in order to bring forth a really, really good romantic comedy.

    I was very impressed with the way the movie made me feel, which, after all is one of the considerations as to why someone would want to see it. This has the most charming song sequences. I was particularly enamored with the lyrics of the songs, as well as the terrific choreography of Gower Champion. A few of these songs were Jane Powell's character Dodie's daydreams, which are meant to be sparked with humor and fantasy. Several songs are hilarious exaggerations of how someone might daydream when they are trying to crystallize into words, the deepest feelings that they are searching to understand. In light of this, I find the lyrics to be superb. If you see the movie several times, you just have to marvel at the complexity of the way each song is staged, and yet how smoothly the scenes of each song are all put together. These scenes are genius.

    When this musical was released, rock and roll was grabbing people's attention, so it did not get the attention that I feel it deserves. In looking back on it, I think that it is one of the most fantastic of productions. The cast, the directing, the staging, and the continuity of the film is something simply amazing. The character, Dodie, was someone in her 20's and so was the actress when she portrayed this role. In the 1950's when this was made, many young women that worked still lived at home until they married, so it is typical of family life in those times. Some were going to college and some were not. The plot does not say that she had not been to college, it simply was not mentioned. All we know is that she was of marriageable age. I love this movie and every thing about it.
  • comment
    • Author: Whiteseeker
    The Girl Most Likely has the dubious distinction of being the last film ever shot by RKO before the studio folded. If it looks familiar it is a musical remake of the Ginger Rogers classic Tom, Dick, and Harry. Standing in for Ginger is Jane Powell recently of MGM and directing is Mitchell Leisen. But even with those two considerable talents, The Girl Most Likely is a far cry from some of the classic expensive musicals that Powell did at MGM like Seven Brides For Seven Brothers.

    The serviceable, but unmemorable score was written by the songwriting team of Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane who also did better things at MGM like Meet Me In St. Louis.

    The Girl Most Likely does faithfully follow the plot of the film from which it was adapted. Jane who was getting a little old for these kind of parts now despite her diminutive size plays a young woman newly in the work force, but with an eye for marriage. And she accepts at different times proposals of marriage from three different guys, go getting real estate salesman Tommy Noonan, Bohemian auto mechanic Cliff Robertson, and her millionaire boss Keith Andes whom she really set her cap for.

    Tom, Dick and Harry had some imaginary sequences where Ginger Rogers imagined life with each of her three prospective husbands and those do lend themselves to musical numbers. Somehow I think if this had been done at MGM by the Arthur Freed unit it would have come out a lot better.

    In the supporting cast take note of Kaye Ballard as Jane's best friend in the Eve Arden part and Frank Cady and Una Merkel as her parents.

    As The Girl Most Likely follows the plot of Tom, Dick and Harry those of you who saw that film know who Jane winds up with. But you won't get that out of me.
  • comment
    • Author: Umge
    This is an odd, but charming, little film. A remake of an old Ginger Rogers film called Tom, Dick or Harry. But somehow in musicalizing it and making the changes necessary for the new location, something has been lost and I just can't quite put my finger on it.

    Your have a great cast! Jane Powell, fresh from her MGM days. Kaye Ballard in one of her very rare movie roles (there are times when she still seems to be playing to the balcony) and a great supporting cast of people like Frank Caddy, Una Merkel, Cliff Robertson, Tommy Noonan and Keith Andes, who was also rarely seen on film. The choreography by Gower Champion is bright and inventive, especially the number on the beach and a score by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane. What else could someone want?

    I still don't know.

    Ms Powell's character has no redeeming characteristics. She is out for one thing and one thing only - to marry a rich man and she doesn't care who she steps on along the way. Then when she does have the millionaire she just drops him suddenly,on the very hour of their wedding, to go back to Fiancée #2, the mechanic, with no thought to Fiancée #1 (her childhood friend) who seems to be the only one honestly in love with her. Ah love - one can never understand it.
  • comment
    • Author: Dodo
    This movie is just odd. It stars Jane Powell as a perky teenager named Dodie who is just desperate to get married. It's a good thing that this film wasn't meant to be even remotely realistic, because it isn't. An example of this is the fact that Powell was 29 at the time of the filming and looks it. Meanwhile, Dodie is portrayed as adorably and harmlessly brainless, when she is in reality something of a money-grubbing tramp. Over a space of three days, she inadvertently becomes engaged to three different men, and doesn't seem to have any qualms with the situation. Upon discovering her infidelity, the men patiently wait for her to choose her favorite among them. I won't give away whom she picks, but I will say that it's a last-minute decision for which no explanation is provided. Very confusing and very weird, with a collection of almost completely uninteresting songs. I wouldn't expressly discourage anyone from seeing this film, but I wouldn't suggest it to anyone either.
  • comment
    • Author: Mori
    Jane Powell plays Dodie, a young lady who is itching to marry a millionaire. While that is certainly her right, in the process she treats the men around her pretty shabbily. First, one guy asks her to marry him and she agrees...but also thinks it's okay to keep looking in case she can find a millionaire instead! Second, she meets a guy who she thinks is a millionaire...and she he isn't, she's angry at HIM! She later becomes engaged to him as well. And, finally, she meets an actual millionaire and accepts his offer to marry him. Considering her word in nothing and she uses men, the film "The Girl Most Likely" sure has a lot working against it! After all, you would expect to like the leading lady in a romantic musical comedy!!! This is a huge strike against the picture, that's for sure...and she's either a bad person or a very dim one!

    Unfortunately, the movie doesn't just suffer when it comes to the leading character. The music, unfortunately, isn't very good and a few of the production numbers are downright irritating, such as "Gotta Keep Up with the Joneses" and "I'm Just Crazy About Crazy Horse". Who thought of these songs??

    Overall, a very unappealing film from start to finish.
  • comment
    • Author: Hulbine
    Disappointing 1957 musical where within an 1 hour and 40 minutes, Jane Powell gets engaged to 3 guys at the same time.

    The Gauer Champion choreography is its usual greatness. Dancing sequence of "Keeping up with the Joneses" is memorable as well as the scene with all the dancing in Mexico.

    Powell does nicely in the part but is not convincing in the comedy scenes where she has had one too many.

    Tommy Noonan is good as her original guy who is an ambitious salesman. Cliff Robertson, who she meets by jumping over-board is young and simple. Keith Andes, as the wealthy guy, looks old for 1957.

    Una Merkel, who seemed to fit in nicely in the 1950s in mother roles, is along for the ride.

    The ending is somewhat of a surprise and proves that wealth isn't everything.
  • comment
    • Author: Kiutondyl
    I saw this film last night on the TCM network and it was really strange. There was a rather un politically correct dance sequence that involved Native Americans (well actually not native Americans) and Cliff Robertson appeared as a "Chief" who appears to be smoking something rather strong in his peace pipe as he passes out a few times during the number. There is also another scene in which the rich guy drives Jane Powell home from Tijuana in a taxi with the cab driver in the back seat and the rich guy is drunk as a lord, yikes what would MADD have to say about that! Overall the musical score was weak but there was an interesting dance number on a flooded stage that was shall we say unique. I'm not quite sure I would recommend this film unless the watcher had some of that stuff that Cliff Robertson had in that pipe in the Indian number but hey it is a surreal film who knows you might like it.
  • Complete credited cast:
    Jane Powell Jane Powell - Dodie
    Cliff Robertson Cliff Robertson - Pete
    Keith Andes Keith Andes - Neil Patterson, Jr.
    Kaye Ballard Kaye Ballard - Marge
    Tommy Noonan Tommy Noonan - Buzz
    Una Merkel Una Merkel - Dodie's Mother
    Kelly Brown Kelly Brown - Sam Kelsey - Sailor
    Judy Nugent Judy Nugent - Pauline - Dodie's Sister
    Frank Cady Frank Cady - Dodie's Pop
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