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Les Girls

Les Girls(1957)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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At the London Royal Courts of Justice, Angele DuCros is suing fellow dancer Sybil Wren, now known as Lady Wren, for allegedly defaming Angele in her memoir. The book recounts Sybil's days with "Barry Nichols and Les Girls," a large vaudeville troupe directed by famed dancer Barry Nichols. In one of her chapters, Sybil suggests that Angele, now married to French businessman Pierre DuCros, attempted suicide over her unrequited love for Barry. The first to take the stand, Sybil relates the following testimony: In a 1949 Paris engagement, Barry hires brassy French dancer Angele as part of the starring trio, which consists of Sybil and American dancer Joanne "Joy" Henderson. Despite agreeing to Barry's stern insistence on being "prompt, persistent and private" and refraining from marriage while in the troupe, Angele reveals to Sybil and Joy, who have invited her to room with them, that she is engaged to a young man named Pierre. One night in the girls' dressing room, after the troupe performs their elaborate stage show, Angele expresses a romantic interest in Barry despite Joy and Sybil's warning that Barry is a conceited playboy. Late that evening, Barry is so entranced by Angele's performance during a private rehearsal, that he begins a secret affair with her. One day, while Angele is out with Barry, Pierre arrives at the apartment to surprise his fiancée. Sybil and Joy dutifully lie for the girl, reporting her amazing progress as a nursing student, the vocation Angele told Pierre she was studying. When Angele finally returns home, Pierre excitedly explains that his parents are in Paris to meet her, the final step in their engagement. Without telling Pierre about the troupe and unsure about which of her suitors she prefers, Angele continues with her plans to perform the following evening. Before the show, Angele begs Barry to declare his love for her, but he manages to elude answering. On stage during the trio's flirtatious and comedic ladies-in-waiting number, Joy claims to see Pierre and his parents in the audience. Angele, not wanting to be seen in the compromising role and crushed by Barry's rejection, bumbles through the remaining steps and runs from the stage. Believing she has ruined her chances with both men, Angele weeps to Sybil. Later that evening, Sybil returns to the apartment and finds Angele passed out from inhaling gas fumes. Back in the courtroom, Sybil explains that Angele clearly wanted to die because of Barry. In their hotel room that evening, Pierre, now married to Angele, is humiliated by the alleged affair during their engagement and bitterly argues with Angele. The following day in court, Angele describes her version of the events: When Sybil's fiancé, London businessman Gerald Wren, pays her a surprise visit in Paris, Joy and Angele use clever tactics to prevent him from seeing her in an attempt to protect Sybil, who is horribly drunk. Soon after, Barry discovers Sybil's weakness for alcohol when he finds Sybil wildly slurring the lyrics to an opera while parading around the apartment. Barry threatens to replace her, until the loyal Angele convinces him that Sybil's condition is due to her unrequited love for him. Barry is so flattered that he takes pity on Sybil. Weeks later, after Barry charms Sybil into attaining sobriety, they embark upon an affair. While the troupe is on tour in Grenada, Gerald pays Sybil another surprise visit and offers Barry a place to perform in London, hoping that Sybil will then return to London. Barry eagerly considers the offer. Later that evening at a flamenco club, Sybil lies to Barry, telling him that Gerald recanted the offer after learning that she and Barry were lovers when she has actually not revealed anything about the affair to Gerald. When Gerald unexpectedly returns to club, Barry immediately denies having a romantic relationship with Sybil. Gerald, shocked by the news of the affair, starts a fistfight with Barry. Later, Sybil attempts to apologize to Barry, but he adamantly denies any real interest in Sybil, claiming that his behavior was motivated out of pity for her alcoholism. Ridiculed, Sybil takes to drinking again. When the troupe returns to Paris, Sybil's drunken slapstick performance on opening night causes Barry to fire her. When Angele returns to the apartment that evening, she finds Sybil passed out from inhaling gas fumes and assumes she attempted suicide. After the court is adjourned, Sybil claims that Angele invented everything, but Gerald says their marriage is over. The next day, Barry comes forward to reconcile the disparate testimonies: Barry actually falls in love with the quieter and more wholesome Joy. He repeatedly tries to court her, but Joy is unwilling to risk her reputation to date the womanizing Barry. When Barry persists on escorting the exhausted dancer home one evening, Joy suggests that he propose to her if his intentions are honorable. After Barry stammers a suggestion for a long engagement, Joy leaves to change into something more comfortable, returning in hair curlers and an oversized robe. Barry promptly leaves in frustration. Several days later, Pierre and Gerald ask Barry to dismiss Angele and Sybil so that they can marry the girls. Enticed by the thought of being alone with Joy, Barry plans to free himself of the girls without having to fire them. After performing a rough and rousing dance number with Joy one night, Barry feigns a heart condition to win Joy's sympathy. He then reluctantly admits that, although he has been diagnosed with a terminal condition, he has not given up the act for fear of putting the girls out of work. Despite promising to keep the illness a secret, Joy rushes home, where she tells Sybil and Angele that Barry is sacrificing himself for their benefit. Angele and Sybil then vow to quit during an anniversary party they are throwing for Barry the following evening. During the party, Barry begrudging accepts Sybil and Angele's resignations and asks Joy to escort him home. Once at his apartment, Barry, still feigning illness, tries to embrace Joy, but she runs from his clutches and orders him to be calm for fear he might suffer an attack. Frustrated, Barry admits to the ruse in hopes of embracing Joy. Furious, Joy runs from the apartment and Barry runs after her. As Barry stands at her locked gate screaming that he loves her, Joy hides in a nearby alcove witnessing his proclamations of love. When he finally reaches her apartment, he finds Angele and Sybil passed out, both having accidentally been overcome by gas fumes from a faulty heater. He finishes his testimony, explaining that the girls were taken to the hospital, but "Les Girls" was never performed again nor was the cause of their near asphyxiation ever explained to them. The mystery resolved, Sybil accepts Angele's motion to withdraw the case. As they leave the courthouse, Sybil and Angele, now insulted by their husbands' attempts to end their careers, embrace each other. Barry joins Joy, who is now his wife. Joy, who has listened to the testimony from the back of the courtroom, suspects Sybil and Angele did not completely fabricate their relationships with Barry, which causes another dispute over romance to ignite.