‘Les girls’ in question are a perky Joy (Mitzi Gaynor), the refined Sybil (Kay Kendall) and a coquettish Angèle (Taina Elg), all vying for the attention of their dance partner and theatre impresario Barry Nichols (Kelly) – depending on whose story you believe! As film critic Leonard Maltin notes in Women He’s Undressed, Gillian Armstrong’s recent biopic on Orry-Kelly (also screening in Australian Perspectives): “Les Girls is all about style…you have Gene Kelly and three gorgeous women, gorgeously costumed, and that ain’t bad!”
Orry-Kelly won his second Academy Award for his bright and bawdy work on Les Girls and would take home a third (and final) Oscar for Some Like it Hot two years later – a record haul for an Australian only recently surpassed by fellow costume designer Catherine Martin. All of Orry-Kelly’s Oscars are on display along with costumes and other fascinating memorabilia in the free exhibition Orry Kelly: Dressing Hollywood.
“Les Girls was a film where Orry-Kelly was really allowed to put on a show…all of those glamourous tools in his tool box, all the sparkle and the things that really make little girls fall in love with the movies.” Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Women He’s Undressed.
10 Oct - 7 Nov
George Cukor's classic 1957 musical romp, starring Gene Kelly with musical numbers by Cole Porter, may seem out of place in Australian Perspectives. However, replete with Oscar®-winning costumes by Australian-born Orry-Kelly, it screens as part of our ongoing tribute to this great Australian, who worked on close to 300 Hollywood films.