Ask Any Girl (1959)
Rod Taylor plays Ross Tayford in this lively romantic comedy, with Shirley
MacLaine as the object of the romance.
another early supporting role in which Taylor steals the show from the
Tayford is the first pursuer of Meg Wheeler, an innocent
19-year-old from Pennsylvania who arrives in New York City to land a job
-- and maybe a husband. They meet cute, he charms her through two months
of dinners and dancing, without a kiss. When he finally makes his move,
it's to invite Meg up to his aunt and uncle's house in Connecticut.
She thinks it's to meet his family and get engaged. The wolfish Tayford, of course, has other
The scenes at the Connecticut house bring the comedy to a high point
before the leading men -- David Niven and Gig Young -- even figure into
the picture. Taylor and MacLaine practically dance through a carefully choreographed
sequence of tricky embraces and escapes, clever lines and kisses.
Once Meg goes to work for the Doughton brothers (Niven and Young),
the romantic plot thickens. Never fear, however, Taylor does make some welcome
In a Los Angeles Times review, critic Philip K. Scheuer commented about
Taylor is predatory ... a young man with a
more direct approach. As an actor, he's worth marking; he's
For her part, Shirley MacLaine received a Golden Globe nomination
as Best Actress in Comedy or Musical (1960), and she won a BAFTA as
Best Foreign Actress (1960).
"Ask Any Girl" was filmed Dec. 1, 1958-Jan. 19, 1959, and it
premiered in May 1959, shortly after the Oscars were awarded for the
previous year's movies. Niven won for "Separate
Tables" (which also included Rod among the cast), and MacLaine
and Young each had received nominations. Thus, there was a peak of
interest in "Ask Any Girl" upon its release, leading to excellent
box office business for the MGM film.
"Ask any Girl" is based on a 1958
novel of the same name by Winifred Wolfe. There are differences from
page to screen, of course, mostly consisting of a reshuffling of
scenes and including more of Meg's hometown life. Amid the
breeziness of the tale lies a disturbing look at some of the
realities facing a young, single, professional woman in late 1950s
America (or, any era for that matter).
Tucked away amid
light-hearted misunderstandings and social miscues are chilling
instances where Meg faces potential assault. Meg's own strength gets
her out of a couple jams, and then unexpected allies emerge when she
needs them most.
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Turner Classic Movies
The movie has only been released on VHS in the United States:
VHS on Amazon.com
A DVD version ("Tutte le Ragazze Lo Sanno") is available from Italy in PAL
format/Region 0, but it does not appear to be an official release. I have been
able to view it using the DVD drive of my computer, enjoying the letterboxed
version with English audio.
DVD on Amazon.com