Tuesday, November 01, 2005

My Tashlin Prayers Are Semi-Answered

The Digital Bits reports that Fox is finally planning to give us DVD releases of the two most famous live-action movies of Frank Tashlin, The Girl Can't Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? But they're doing it in a roundabout way:

Other "Cinema Classics Collection" titles coming in early 2006 from Fox include... The Jayne Mansfield Collection (a box set including The Wayward Bus, The Girl Can't Help It and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?)

The Wayward Bus is a black-and-white melodrama from 1957 featuring Mansfield and Joan Collins, and while the cast does make it sound pleasantly crazy, Tashlin's masterpieces deserve better than to be lumped in with one thing that is so clearly not like the others.

Oh, well, at least they're coming. These are two of the best movies of the '50s, where writer-director Tashlin gives the raspberry to everything and everything about American culture, from success-worship to advertising to breast fixations (Tashlin, a leg man, was quoted as saying that finding Jayne Mansfield's breasts attractive made no more sense than finding oversized feet attractive). If I had to choose, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is the desert-island title here, because of the presence of the great Tony Randall instead of the so-so Tom Ewell of The Girl Can't Help It.

Unfortunately this means limbo for Tashlin's two other films for Fox -- including The Lieutenant Wore Skirts, which is very nearly as good as the two Jayne Mansfield pictures (though it uses another of Fox's Marilyn Monroe substitutes, Sheree North). Hopefully Paramount will get around to releasing more Jerry Lewis films, upon which we can finally get Tashlin's insane masterpieces like Artists and Models and Hollywood or Bust. Meanwhile, look forward to (despite the title) "The Jayne Mansfield Collection," and take a look at the Tashlin featurette on the third disc of the new Looney Tunes Golden Collection.

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