“Nancy Sinatra does a mechanized watusi with the help of a reducing machine while Mary Ann Mobley does it on her own in a scene from MGM’s fun-filled college musical, ‘Get Yourself A College Girl,’ a Sam Katzman production directed by Sidney Miller and spot-lighting a half-dozen
top recording stars and groups.” ~ 1964 MGM press release
Three years before TV viewers were Movin’ With Nancy, moviegoers had been gyratin’ with Nancy in her second motion picture, Get Yourself A College Girl, released fifty years ago (December 18, 1964). Although the film would not achieve the landmark status of Nancy’s pioneering first television special, its proto-women’s liberation element foreshadowed her anthem of female empowerment, “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’,” as well as the bold statements of subsequent recordings: songs such as “Step Aside” and “100 Years.”
In a 1995 interview conducted by Jon Stewart, Nancy acknowledges that she has been a role model.
Nancy’s College Girl co-star Mary Ann Mobley portrays Terry Taylor, a student who has been secretly composing hit pop songs with provocatively feminist lyrics, and whom Nancy (as the married Lynne) describes as “a Joan of Arc.” This independent attitude is demonstrated by the rollicking opening scene in which the young women of conservative Wyndham College rebel against the dean’s authority during a ballet lesson.
Among the standout students at the ballet-turned-go-go dance, Nancy and Mary Ann watusi with “an air of [swingin’] grace.” The black and white publicity photo (at the top of this post) illustrates Nancy’s flair for comedy as she incorporates The Swim.
The memorable scene also features the other two members of the film’s quartet of female leads: Joan O’Brien as the instructor (left) and Nancy’s longtime friend Chris Noel (right). Joan had been married to Nancy’s then-future arranger and producer, Billy Strange.
The eternally graceful Mary Ann Mobley, Miss America 1959, passed away on December 9th.
“Let’s not whistle in the dark
It’s time that we ignite the spark
And girls I’ll be your Joan of Arc
Let’s show the world we’re free”