WEIRDLAND: Happy 82nd Birthday, Taina Elg! ("Les Girls")

Friday, March 09, 2012

Happy 82nd Birthday, Taina Elg! ("Les Girls")

Happy 82nd Birthday, Taina Elg!

Taina Elg with director George Cukor during the filming of "Les Girls" (1957)

"Les Girls", also known as "Cole Porter's Les Girls", is a 1957 musical comedy film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by George Cukor, produced by Sol C. Siegel with Saul Chaplin as associate producer from a screenplay by John Patrick based on a story by Vera Caspary with music and lyrics by Cole Porter.

It stars Gene Kelly, Kay Kendall, Mitzi Gaynor and Taina Elg. The film's original female leads were to have been played by Leslie Caron, Cyd Charisse, Jean Simmons and Carol Haney.

Mitzi Gaynor and Gene Kelly in the musical number "Why Am I So Gone About That Gal" from the 1957 movie "Les Girls".

Kay Kendall, Mitzi Gaynor and Taina Elg.

Mitzi Gaynor's dancing was exhilarating and led to her selection to star in "South Pacific" (1958). Kay Kendall was the real central spark in the film demonstrating her talent for both comedy and dance. That she would appear in only two further films before dying very prematurely of leukemia was a real shock to her many fans. Taina Elg, a name little remembered by film fans, showed off both her balletic dancing skills as well as a pleasing singing voice in "Ca, C'est L'amour". Source:

-Mitzy Gaynor: "Gene came to rehearsal with a photograph of Marlon Brando from the film 'The Wild One' and said 'What do you think if we do a number based on a character like this?' We were in a rehearsal hall at Metro with a piano and drums. And I loved it. I absolutely adored it.

I'm dancing with Gene Kelly, and he's lifting me and throwing me around like a powder puff. I'm so in paradise, and he was so good, and so sweet, and so delicious. He was very, very, very attractive and he liked me. There was no romance between us, but he knew how I felt about working with him and that I would do anything to please him". -"The Dancer Within: Intimate Conversations with Great Dancers" by Rose Eichenbaum (2008)

Noel Coward as King Pavel II in "Surprise Package" (1960) directed by Stanley Donen

Stanley Donen introduced a last minute musical number in "Surprise Package" (1960), starring Yul Brynner, Mitzi Gaynor and Noel Coward.

Noel Coward recorded: "All my principal scenes are done now, including a musical sequence in which I do a cheerful little number with Mitzi Gaynor. This was given to me on Wednesday morning at eleven o'clock. I learnt it and it was recorded and in the can by twelve o'clock. Everyone was very surprised but it really wasn't very difficult. The next day I mouthed it in the scene. I had never done this synchronization before, but it was all right. I've enjoyed making this picture and have felt relaxed in front of the camera for the first time in my sporadic film experience. Mitzi Gaynor charming". -"Coward on Film: The Cinema of Noel Coward" by Barry Day (2004)

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