Bright Lights Film Journal

TCM Tomorrow: Nicholas Ray’s PARTY GIRL (1958)

Displaying their strange penchant for indicating they know nothing whatsoever about movies but have all the good ones, TCM drops Nicholas Ray’s sizzling sleeper PARTY GIRL amidst “Girl” movies like PLAY GIRL, PIN-UP GIRL and the like. But Ray’s an artist not a prurient, and PARTY GIRL, though I don’t remember all the details from when I saw it on a rented library VHS 8 years ago, is more like a Warner Brothers pre-code thrown into a pot of steaming Anthony Mann-style film noir and cooked until it shines like an acid-cleaned French New Wave-influencing late 1950s technicolor “adult” drama.

And it stars, what stars!…. Cyd Charisse! She of the brunette hair and incredible, jaw-droppingly sexy and sinewy dancer’s legs, regularly playing the girl who dances around impressionistically-rendered beatnik cafes in Gene Kelly (above from SINGING IN THE RAIN). Does she pull it off as the kind of hard-boiled yet sweet gettin’ older dame who’d be right at home rolling drunks and helping children in a Sam Fuller production? She does. And Lee J. Cobb is gravity itself as the heavy. Tuesday (tomorrow morning) at 6 AM of TCM!!! It’s also avail. on DVD-R at Warner Archives,  but damn do I hate those depressing green covers, they remind me of those old clamshell VHS cases, all splintered and dog-eared and faded blue in the video rental store window sun. PARTY GIRL aint like that!