Jayne Mansfield Collection (3-DVD)
much as I’d like to say that Jayne Mansfield was a good
actress, her performances reveal little more than rare
physical endowments and poor vocal ability. Perhaps
that’s a bit harsh, but Mansfield was no Marilyn Monroe,
regardless of Twentieth Century Fox’s many brazen
attempts to make her appear so. Instead, Mansfield was
much more of a novelty act. After numerous visits to the
Playboy Mansion, an infamous series of photos in Hugh
Hefner’s magazine, and the first nude appearance in an
American film (“Promises, Promises,” 1963),
Mansfield was branded with a sexpot image. In addition
to being stereotyped, her career in acting began a
steady decline only four years after her first starring
performance in the rock n’ roll comedy, “The
Girl Can’t Help It” (1956), which was,
evidently, a blessing and a curse. The film paired
Mansfield with offbeat director Frank Tashlin, who would
later cast her in his masterpiece, “Will
Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” (1957). However, it
was her role in “The
Girl Can’t Help It” that culminated in her
seminal performance and pigeonholed the actress as a
Billed as the greatest rock n’ roll film of-all-time by
several critics upon its release, “The Girl Can’t Help
It” is less a film about rock n’ roll than it is a
biting satire of 1950s trends and gender relations. More
so, Tashlin uses rock n’ roll to finesse his highly
entertaining critique of showbiz and the relevant ‘sex
sells’ theme. Although the performances are staged
adequately in glorious color and feature major talents
of the time period (Little Richard, Fats Domino, Abbey
Lincoln, The Platters, Gene Vincent, and The Treniers to
name a few), Tashlin hardly attempts to bottle the
excitement and risqué nature of rock n’ roll. Instead,
his concentration is on the story and Mansfield’s
Theatrical Releases: Various from 1956-58
DVD Review: 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC|
|Time:||Respectively - 1:37:18 + 1:43:08 + 1:32:39|
|Bitrate: The Girl Can't Help It|
|Bitrate: The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw|
|Bitrate: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?|
|Audio||English (mono and Stereo), Spanish DUB option in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? and The Girl Can't Help It. French DUB option in The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw|
|Subtitles||English, Spanish, None|
• Commentary by Toby Miller on The Girl Can't Help It
The Blu-ray of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is compared HERE!
NOTE: Although the 3 main features of this boxset are housed in individual keep cases (see images above and below) they are not sold separately at this time and can only be obtained in Fox's Jayne Mansfield Collection.
Technical specifications of the discs: All region 1 coded in the NTSC standard, progressive and anamorphic in the cinemascope 2.35:1 ratio. Two of the discs offer audio commentaries.
Image: Frankly, these transfers are rather unremarkable. There are no glaring flaws - colors are acceptable - no extensive artifacts - not particularly clean... but perhaps I was expecting more from these 50's cinemascope prints. They are certainly watchable, but I wish I was using the word 'pristine' instead. I'd say The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw looks the best of the three and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? probably the weakest in terms of image - but they are fairly consistent - not extravagant differences in comparing any of the three.
Audio - Only Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? appears to be in its original 4.0 channel - the other two are 2.0 stereo. I noticed no excessive dropouts and dialogue was clear and consistent. There are some DUBs - a Spanish DUB option in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? and The Girl Can't Help It and a French DUB option in The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw. Overall audio is given another passing grade.
Extras - A film journal editor and professor Toby Miller fills in many details, in the The Girl Can't Help It commentary. Discussed are the huge media celebrations of Mansfields life and career. He keeps a good pace and certainly know his stuff. This commentary exceeded my expectations - very good work. Film Historian Dana Polan, whom you may remember from the commentaries on Emperor of the North ,on the Warner Film Noir Boxset 3 (Border Incident) and the Tough Guys Collection (Bullets or Ballots), switches gears on Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? to explain many of the less obvious satirical jabs at the intentional artificialities in the film. I thought it was excellent - I enjoy each commentary I hear from him.
Overall impression: I suspect the extras only really scratched the surface of what they could have, but if you were ever keen on seeing these comedies - the price is right. Compared to some of the Boxsets we have seen in the past couple of years - this holds its ground adequately although Fox could have expanded with more films and a bonus disc.
episode "Jayne Mansfield: Blonde Ambition"
Fox Movietone News footage "Nation's Capital Scene of Texan Get-Together"
Collection of postcard-size lobby card reproductions
Individual Keep Case Cover
The Girl Can't Help It USA 1956 Directed by Frank Tashlin
Starring Tom Ewell, Jayne Mansfield, Edmond O'Brien, Julie London and Ray Anthony
Individual Keep Case Cover
The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw USA 1958 Directed by Raoul Walsh
Starring Kenneth More, Jayne Mansfield, Henry Hull and Bruce Cabot
Individual Keep Case Cover
Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? USA 1957 Directed by Frank Tashlin
Starring Tony Randall, Jayne Mansfield, Betsy Drake and Joan Blondell