Every Chorus Doll Wants to Be A Kitty!

If you've ever seen the 1955 film version of Guys and Dolls, then you know about the two amazing chorus girl numbers featured in the movie - both actually performed by the Goldwyn Girls chorus girl group. One fact I didn't know (until I researched for this blog), was that this was actually the last film appearance with the final group of Goldwyn Girls. You may remember the Goldwyn Girls from my previous blogs about the Minstrel Man clip and from the We Want Ice Cream routine - BOTH from the film, Kid Millions (1934). You may ALSO remember that a LOT of famous actresses started out as Goldwyn Girls, including Lucille Ball.

These clips star Vivian Blaine, who plays the starring role of Adelaide, the "long suffering, perpetually engaged chorus girl," a role which she actually played on Broadway before acting the part again for the film in 1955. Vivian Blaine, born Vivian Stapleton, in New Jersey in 1921. I was impressed to discover that she was actually quite the short chorus girl, at only 5'2" (a height I can relate to!). A little more about Vivian from IMDB:

Ms. Blaine also originated roles on Broadway in "Say Darling," and "Enter Laughing."
She also starred on Broadway in "Hatful of Rain," "Company," and, briefly, in "Zorba." She starred in many national tours, including "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Don't Drink the Water," "Hello Dolly," and "Gypsy." Before going to Broadway, Ms. Blaine was a starlet at 20th Century-Fox, appearing in many musical comedy films, including Jitterbugs (1943), Greenwich Village (1944), and State Fair (1945). In the mid 1950s, Ms. Blaine reprised her role as Adelaide in the film version of Guys and Dolls (1955) with Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. After her Broadway appearance in "Company" in 1972, she appeared on national television at the 25th Tony anniversary special. This led to a revival of her TV career, and she continued to appear in guest roles on TV and in independent films and theater until her retirement in 1984. 

Clearly a fantastic voice actor, you can see her singing here in the 1945 film State Fair, where she dons stunning red hair and a deeply beautiful singing voice.  According to Wikipedia, she was in over 21 films and 40 stage shows, not to mention other tv shows and spots. You can also watch her here, on her appearance on "What's My Line," where she is nothing but adorable and charming.

Now on to why this clip is worth writing about.... talk about fun and lighthearted! Who doesn't love beautiful chorus girls dressed up as cute cats? And I love how classic and sweet these costumes are, as far as chorus girl cat costumes go... I mean, have you seen the Footlight Parade (1933) cat costumes? I mean, the are a little excessive... Another little interesting fact is that this song and number were written SPECIFICALLY FOR the film version, and never before were in the Broadway play.

Goldwyn Girl chorus dancers featured in this film include
  • Barbara Brent
  • Jann Darlyn
  • Madelyn Darrow - was a top California based model, and was voted Miss Rheingold of 1958. Married tennis legend Pancho Gonzalez in 1960.
  • June Kirby - eventually became involved and worked in wardrobe on many films over the course of 40 years
  • Pat Sheehan (who I'm convinced is the tall blonde one who enters in the first group of 4 girls) Click her name to read more about her life!
  • Larri Thomas 
  • etc. 
The costumes are fantastic, the dancing is impressive in such high stiletto heels, especially the jump rope section. There are definitely some elements that could only be produced in the movies - like whenever the tails straighten to a point, by use of (what I can only assume) fishing line from the overhead rafters (see 3:40, for example). At about 1:50 in, there are some fantastic lines in the dancing with the long legs and cross-steps, not to mention the super high kicks, which are repeated again at 3:58.

Oddly enough, I couldn't find any information on who the dance choreographer was for this film (missing from the film credits). Apparently, it wasn't until a couple of years after this movie, starting around 1957,  that films started to name choreographers in the credits. Finally, after a lot of hunting, I found that Michael Kidd was not only the choreographer for the 1951 Broadway show (and won a Tony for his choreography), but that he also staged the dances and musical numbers for the 1955 film.

Overall, this routine is fun, playful, and cute, and now I present for your viewing enjoyment, "Pet Me Poppa," from Guys and Dolls (1955).