Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ask Any Girl (1959)

Director: Charles Walters
Writers: Winifred Wolfe (novel) and George Wells

Reviewed by Hugh


    Thursday, June 25, 1959
       When Shirley MacLaine, as Meg Wheeler, age twenty-one, comes to New York from a provincial home-town, she has three objectives: to find a job, to find a husband, and to retain her chastity during the struggle. In achieving her first objective she is employed by a sweater manufacturer (Jim Backus) who requires only that she wear sweaters of his manufacture, one size too small, while on the job. This requirement turns out to be so effective that it compels a young business visitor (Rod Taylor) at the office to methodically carry out a campaign aimed at seducing the young lady. But when the boss himself comes under the influence of his own fulfilled knitwear, Miss MacLaine quits in panic, indignant that her chastity is so often placed in jeopardy.
 She goes to work at an advertising agency which is operated by two brothers, one of whom is David Niven portraying a sober minded egghead who holds a dispassionate view of wine, women, and the world. The other is Gig Young, his brother’s opposite in personality, a man whose preoccupation with women is occupational.
The provincial girl is dazzled by the relaxed charm of Mr. Young, and while realizing that he dates her only after his extensive female listing has failed him, she nevertheless is out to snag him for a husband. For this purpose she becomes a client of her other employer, Mr. Niven, and engages his talent in motivational research, the method by which a subject is unknowingly induced to show preference for a specific product.

Mr. Niven masterminds the project brilliantly, and through researching his brother’s preferences in women by personal contact, he succeeds in creating a Miss MacLaine who is an irresistible composite of all that appeals to Mr. Young’s overly libidinous mind. The victim is a dead duck, but such conniving is bound to backfire, and both client and expert become their own victims. You won’t regret finding out how this comes about if you care to watch a neat bit of acting professionalism in one of the most pleasurable movie vehicles anyone can see.

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