Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Like so many other films that were once considered "lewd" and "scandalous", The French Line seems as harmless as Pollyanna when seen today. Essentially a remake of The Richest Girl in the World, the film stars Jane Russell as Mary Carson, an incredibly wealthy Texas oil heiress. Lucky in investments but unlucky in love, poor Mary can never keep a fiance: either they're fortune-hunters or they don't want to marry anyone so rich and powerful. Thus, while on an ocean voyage to France, Mary poses as the model of dress designer Annie Farrell (Mary McCarthy), hoping to attract a man who is interested in her for herself, and not her millions. That man turns out to be dashing stage star Pierre (Gilbert Roland), but there's many comic complications and misunderstandings before the happy ending. What shocked the censors in 1954 was Jane Russell's sizzling musical number "Lookin' for Trouble", in which she performed an uninhibited bump-and-grind while wearing nothing more than a seven-ounce glorified bikini. While Ms. Russell herself was offended by her skimpy costume, she saw nothing wrong with the dance itself, pointing out that she intended it as a parody of a "burleycue" number. The professional blue-noses disagreed, however: the film was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency and denied a Production Code Seal. Eventually, producer Howard Hughes got the Seal--along with a million dollars' worth of free publicity, which is what he intended all along. Filmed in 3D, The French Line is the film that was ballyhooed with the classically tasteless ad campaign "J.R. in 3D--It'll knock both your eyes out!"
disguise, fortune-hunter, heir, romance, sea, voyage