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THE OPPOSITE SEX (1956)

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Discussion before

June Allyson made her last musical appearance at MGM in this remake of the classic 1939 comedy The Women. With the story transported to the theatrical world, she portrays a musical star who learns from her gossipy girlfriends that her husband (Leslie Nielsen) is having an affair with a chorus girl (Joan Collins). Except for one number led by Dick Shawn (in a cameo as himself), the musical moments highlight Allyson, even though two of her co-stars (Dolores Gray and Ann Miller) were musical stars in their own right. (Though Gray did get to sing the title song and steal most of her scenes as the acerbic Sylvia.) There’s also a chance to see Collins in her first major “bad girl” role, a part she would later describe as “the embryo Alexis [Carrington].” There was some off-screen cattiness, too. In the slapping scene, Allyson accidentally caught Collins full force, knocking her unconscious and causing production delays until her welts healed. Another co-star, Joan Blondell, was returning to movies after a five-year absence, despite the fact that she still blamed Allyson for stealing her ex-husband Dick Powell. The two women avoided each other whenever possible. Despite this, the film’s chief assets are its use of Metrocolor, Cinemascope and Helen Rose’s over-the-top costumes. (d. David Miller, 117m, Digital)

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