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Ask Any Girl (1959)

Rod Taylor plays Ross Tayford in this lively romantic comedy, with Shirley MacLaine as the object of the romance.

It's yet another early supporting role in which Taylor steals the show from the top-billed actors.

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 ideas.

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 re-appearances.

In a Los Angeles Times review, critic Philip K. Scheuer commented about Rod: 

Taylor is predatory ... a young man with a more direct approach. As an actor, he's worth marking; he's different.

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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The movie has only been released on VHS in the United States:
VHS on

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