Dewi Griffiths

Julie London, The Girl Can’t Help It

After hearing Julie London on String of Pearls, I searched for examples where her music not only intersected with film, but also the performer herself. I discovered she made over twenty films, and I found the gem below, an interlude in the Jayne Mansfield flick, The Girl Can’t Help It. London performed with a limited vocal range, but when paired with the right material, usually slow and sultry, she exuded a sensual, mesmerizing star quality. Even though her career heyday lasted only from the fifties through the sixties, her back catalog endeared her to new generations of fans thanks to the eighties and nineties lounge music revivals. In this clip the male lead Tom Ewell plays her version of Cry Me a River. Her song causes the singer literally to materialize and haunt Ewell’s character during a drunken hallucination.

String of Pearls

At Chez Gallagher, we’ve been listening to String of Pearls. Film lovers of Hollywood’s golden age will enjoy this broadcast of “music from the golden years of entertainment”. BBC Wales host Dewi Griffiths’s program could be called stream of consciousness radio.  Like a string of pearls where one pearl leads to another, one song leads to another. Griffith’s encyclopedic collection of trivia and personal reminiscences connect each song. Many featured songs were featured in classic era films, so Griffiths discusses as much film history as musical history. Selections come from the 1920s through the 1950s, making the show perfect for nostalgics even if they never lived in the eras they miss.