Cast & Crew
As bank clerk Dodie ferries home to Balboa Bay, California, she imagines meeting the very wealthy man of her dreams. That evening, her boyfriend, real estate agent Buzz, takes her to Lovers' Beach, where he reveals that he was promoted and wants to marry her. She refuses, until he finally adds that he truly loves her and will do everything he can to care for her. Even though Dodie knows she does not love him, she accepts. At home, where Dodie lives with her parents and teenage sister Peteine, she fantasizes about her wedding, but her daydream soon degenerates into a vision of a life devoid of passion and focused only on social climbing.
At the bank the next day, Dodie informs her best friend Marge about the engagement, but begins to experience second thoughts when the yacht of millionaire Neil Patterson, Jr. sails by. She and Marge take the ferry home, and when they spot a man hopping off the yacht and into a motorboat, Dodie impulsively jumps into the water in order to meet him. He fishes her out of the bay and, charmed, asks for a date that night. Although Dodie's father at first chastises her for betraying Buzz, when he hears that her date is a millionaire, he rushes to help her get ready. As soon as Dodie leaves with her date, however, he explains that he has only two dollars and a dime, and she realizes that he is not Neil, but Neil's mechanic, Pete. Dodie is furious, but the smitten Pete convinces her to go out with him.
Accompanied by Marge and her date, sailor Sam Kelsey, Dodie and Pete enjoy a lovely night together by the pier, debating the whole time about her obsession with marrying a wealthy man. Pete argues that kindness and honesty make a man a man rich, not money, and seems to know everyone in town. By the end of the night, Pete is in love, and when he kisses Dodie she finally feels the way she has always dreamed of feeling, as if she is on a pink cloud. When he proposes, she at first demurs, explaining that she is already engaged to Buzz, but accepts him after another kiss. Pete leaves, and this time her fantasy about the future casts her as an Indian squaw, stuck with a brood of nine children but enjoying a passionate marriage. The next night, Pete stands outside Buzz's office, and plays along when Buzz assumes he is a customer. Buzz breaks his date with Dodie in order to show his new prospect a house, insisting that Pete bring along his fiancée. When he sees that the girl is Dodie, however, Buzz is dismayed, and abandons the couple by the ocean, forcing them to walk home.
Along the way, they hear a muffled cry for help and discover a drunken man, whom Pete identifies as Neil, paddling helplessly in the water. While Pete runs off to call a driver, Dodie charms Neil, who asks her on a date for the following evening. She meets him on his yacht, where he plies her with delicacies and liqueurs, but when he makes advances, she threatens to jump overboard unless he stops. He complies, and instead takes her to Tijuana, where he is delighted by her vivacity. They meet Marge and Sam there, and the four dance all night until Neil finally buys a cab to drive a drunken Dodie home at four a.m. Both Buzz and Pete are waiting on her front porch, and although all three suitors explain to her that she must choose one fiancé, she is too drunk to think clearly, so they put her to bed.
The three return in the morning for breakfast and wait in suspense until Dodie finally descends the stairs, her decision made. After gently informing first Buzz and then Pete that she has always dreamed of marrying a man like Neil, Dodie offers her hand to the millionaire. A thrilled Neil suggests that they leave for a marriage cruise right away, and the whole group accompanies them onboard for a farewell party. There, Sam secretly proposes to an overjoyed Marge, and then everyone bids Dodie and Neil goodbye. Pete is the last to leave, and when he passionately kisses her, Dodie once again feels the pink cloud and wonders if she has made the right choice. She kisses Neil to check, and after the kiss leaves her cold, she apologizes to him and hops into Pete's boat, finally sure of who and what she wants.
Valentin De Vargas
Bill White Jr.
Albert S. D'agostino
George W. Davis
Harry Maret Jr.
The Girl Most Likely
Powell began her career in MGM musicals as a teenager. She reached her peak in the hugely successful Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). But by the mid-50's, musicals were declining, and consequently so was Powell's career. The following year, she parted ways with MGM. The Girl Most Likely, her first film since leaving MGM, was made in 1956, but because of RKO's problems, was not released until early 1958. It was Powell's last starring role in a film, although she continued to work onstage and in television.
Now nearly forgotten, Mitchell Leisen was one of Paramount's top directors in the 1930's and 1940's, directing such critical and popular successes as Easy Living (1937), Midnight (1939), Lady in the Dark (1944), and To Each His Own (1946). But by the late 1940's, his big-budget films were less successful, and he was experiencing some health and personal problems. Paramount was offering him inferior films, and Leisen re-negotiated his contract with the studio so he could accept outside assignments, although they were few and far between. Critics said The Girl Most Likely proved he hadn't lost his touch, but it would be his last feature film, though he continued to direct television episodes into the mid-1960's.
Broadway star Carol Channing was supposed to play Powell's best friend in The Girl Most Likely. Channing had recently played a similar role as Ginger Rogers' pal in RKO's The First Traveling Saleslady (1956). But according to Leisen, problems with Channing began even before production began on The Girl Most Likely. She did not show up for makeup and wardrobe tests, and when she did arrive, she told RKO executive William Dozier that she wanted the starring role. She felt that she was too big a star to play second fiddle to Powell. And Channing wanted to insert some gags for herself into the film. Dozier fired Channing, and on the suggestion of choreographer Gower Champion, replaced her with comedienne Kaye Ballard, who earned some of the film's best reviews.
Champion, who had been half of a very successful movie dance team with his wife Marge, and had choreographed many of their routines, moved into full-time choreography with The Girl Most Likely. His two production numbers in the film, set on a southern California beach, and in the border town of Tijuana, Mexico, were highlights of the film. Champion later created a nightclub act for Powell, and persuaded her to make her Broadway debut, taking over the lead in a revival of the musical Irene, which he was directing. But according to Powell, ten days before her opening, Champion withdrew from the production, making some disparaging remarks about her and the incident ended their friendship.
Those associated with the production of The Girl Most Likely described the eeriness of working at the nearly abandoned RKO studio. When production began, a few other films were also in production. As they wrapped, more and more departments would close down. Finally, The Girl Most Likely company was the only one left. By the time the film was finished, so was RKO. Universal finally picked up the distribution rights, and released it on the bottom half of a double bill. The New York Times called The Girl Most Likely "a silly, crawling little bore," but critics over the years have expressed appreciation for the film's breezy style and regret that a director and star who still had a lot to offer were unable to continue their careers.
Director: Mitchell Leisen
Producer: Stanley Rubin
Screenplay: Devery Freeman, based on an uncredited story and screenplay by Paul Jarrico
Cinematography: Robert H. Planck
Editor: Harry Marker, Doane Harrison
Costume Design: Renie
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino, George W. Davis
Music: songs by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane
Choreography: Gower Champion
Principal Cast: Jane Powell (Dodie), Cliff Robertson (Pete), Keith Andes (Neil), Kaye Ballard (Marge), Tommy Noonan (Buzz), Una Merkel (Mom), Frank Cady (Pop).
C-99m. Closed captioning.
by Margarita Landazuri
The Girl Most Likely
Keith Andes (1920-2005)
Born John Charles Andes on July 12, 1920, in Ocean City, New Jersey, Keith been began performing in his teens for school productions and for local radio stations in his hometown. After he graduated with a B.A. in education from Temple University in 1943, he pursued a stage career in earnest, and in 1947 scored a triumph in the Broadway musical The Chocolate Soldier, where he won a Theatre World Award for his performance. That same year, he made his film debut as one of Loretta Young's brothers in The Farmer's Daughter (1947). Although his film career never quite took off, one could certainly envy him for playing opposite two of the hottest blonde bombshells of their generation: first with Marilyn Monroe Clash by Night (1952); and then Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Most Likely (1957).
If Andes lacked the star power to be a consistent Hollywood lead, he certainly had no problems with television. Here, his stalwart presence and commanding baritone made him more than servicable for television through three decades: (Goodyear Theatre, Playhouse 90, The Ford Television Theatre); '60s: (Perry Mason, The Rifleman, Star Trek, The Outer Limits, Glynis); and '70s (Cannon, The Streets of San Francisco).
Andes made his last notable screen appearance in the Al Pacino vehicle And Justice For All (1979), before falling into semi-retirement and doing occassional voice work. He is survived by two sons, Mark, Matt; and three grandchildren.
by Michael T. Toole
Keith Andes (1920-2005)
The last film made by RKO. Distribution went to Universal.
The Girl Most Likely was a remake of the 1941 RKO picture Tom, Dick and Harry (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). RKO produced the film in 1956, but after the breakup of the studio, Universal bought the release rights. Although the onscreen credit for screenwriting reads, "Screenplay by Devery Freeman," in 1998 the Writers Guild of America restored the credit of blacklisted writer Paul Jarrico, who wrote the screenplay for Tom,Dick and Harry. The new credit for The Girl Most Likely reads, "Screenplay by Paul Jarrico and Devery Freeman. Story by Paul Jarrico." Please see the entry for the 1952 RKO film The Las Vegas Story (below) for more information about the restoration of credits by the Writers Guild.
Although a November 1956 Los Angeles Times article reported that Carol Channing was to co-star in The Girl Most Likely, and songwriters Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane would pen special numbers "to demonstrate her individual style in singing and dancing," she did not appear in the film. A November 1956 Hollywood Reporter production chart includes Venetia Stevenson and Valerie Anderson in the cast, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
Released in United States Winter February 1958
Remake of "Tom, Dick, and Harry" (1941), starring Ginger Rogers.
Released in United States Winter February 1958