Thursday, September 22, 2011

Film | The French Line (1954)

I recorded this film a few years ago and had yet to watch it. With the Jane Russell Filmography Project going on, I finally sat down to check out this film from 1954.

This picture has always intrigued me because of all the 'scandals' surrounding it. It was banned by National Legion of Decency and the Production Code would not give it a seal of approval. You would think you were going to be watching an adult movie, but as with most controversial films from the Golden Era... this film is about as tame as they come.

After the major success of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953, Howard Hughes wanted his own musical picture about American girls heading for France for love. He even hired the sister of Anita Loos (author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes), to write the screen play. The picture obviously would star Hughes' favorite star, Jane Russell and in typical Howard Hughes fashion he would use Jane Russell to stir scandal to gain publicity for the film. With a tagline like "J.R. in 3-D. It'll knock both your eyes out!", how could this picture not cause a stir in 1950's society. So what was the fuss all about? After seeing the film, I am still left with the same question, as I am sure audiences of the time did as well.

The 'Lookin' For Trouble' scene at the end of the film that was the issue, was nothing but a tongue and cheek musical number about a women wanting a man. Jane was originally supposed to wear a two piece bikini for the number, but refused to after trying on the costume. Russell was a christian woman with a family, which is probably why she is never really 'selling sex' when it is promised. She always carried herself with class and never delivered the 'trash' Howard Hughes promised the public. Even if you watch the uncut version, you are still left wondering what was the big issue? Jane does some pelvic thrusts and that's about it. While watching the film, it is obvious this number was only added to cause issues. To me, it actually doesn't flow with the film. It appears during the final fashion show where beautiful gowns for the seasons were just being shown and then we go into a musical number in a bathing suit? While definitely a fun song to listen to, the film could have done without the scene.

The film about about Mame, a Texas oil heriess, who can't stop finding oil and can not find love. The men she meets are either after her money or scared of a woman with so much money. With the help of her fashion designer friend, she assumes the identity of a model to find love. They set off on a French line headed for Paris when she falls in love with a French man, who isn't who he appears to be either. 

There are beautiful costumes, great musical numbers, and even Kim Novak in her film debut as a model... a very fun picture to watch.


  1. I love your new header!!!! Gosh, Barbara Stanwyck was gorgeous. :)

  2. Hi very sexy and Beautiful Jane Russell thank you i am such a Big fan of Her. I am so pleased i have found Her