American in Paris
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An American in Paris

4.0 18
Director: Vincente Minnelli

Cast: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant

     
 

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Gene Kelly does his patented Pal Joey bit as Jerry Mulligan, an opportunistic American painter living in Paris' "starving artists" colony. He is discovered by wealthy Milo Roberts (Nina Foch), who becomes Jerry's patroness in more ways than one. Meanwhile, Jerry plays hookey on this setup by romancing waif-like Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron)--who, unbeknownst to him, is

Overview

Gene Kelly does his patented Pal Joey bit as Jerry Mulligan, an opportunistic American painter living in Paris' "starving artists" colony. He is discovered by wealthy Milo Roberts (Nina Foch), who becomes Jerry's patroness in more ways than one. Meanwhile, Jerry plays hookey on this setup by romancing waif-like Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron)--who, unbeknownst to him, is the object of the affections of his close friend Henri (Georges Guetary), a popular nightclub performer (the film was supposed to make Guetary into "the New Chevalier." It didn't). The thinnish plot is held together by the superlative production numbers and by the recycling of several vintage George Gershwin tunes, including "I Got Rhythm," "S'wonderful," and "Our Love is Here to Stay." Highlights include Guetary's rendition of "Stairway to Paradise"; Oscar Levant's fantasy of conducting and performing Gershwin's "Concerto in F" (Levant also appears as every member of the orchestra); and the closing 17-minute "American in Paris" ballet, in which Kelly and Caron dance before lavish backgrounds based on the works of famed French artists.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
From the simplest of plots, Gene Kelly and MGM director Vincente Minnelli (Meet Me in St. Louis) spun a delirious fantasy scored to the wonderful music of George and Ira Gershwin that stands at the pinnacle of movie musicals. Kelly, as a struggling American artist living in Paris, enjoys the support of a wealthy and amorous female patron -- until he falls head-over-heels in love with a French gamine (Leslie Caron in her star-making debut). The plot's central complication: Kelly's a bit more beholden to his wealthy patroness (Nina Foch) than he can admit; and Caron remains betrothed to a nightclub singer (Georges Guetary) who plans to take her away with him on his debut U.S. tour. Kelly choreographed the exhilarating dance numbers as harmonious showcases for his athletic exuberance and ballerina Caron's lissome elegance. The final sequence, a 17-minute modern ballet incorporating spectacular sets designed to look like famous 20th-century French paintings, married dance and cinema in a way that was entirely new, and it still feels that way. An American in Paris took home numerous Oscars, including the special one Kelly received for the multiple roles he played in creating this innovative masterpiece.
All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Vincente Minnelli's An American in Paris set a new standard for the subgenre known as the "songbook" musical. Since the dawn of sound, producers had been attracted to films built around the published output of composers as different as Johann Strauss (The Great Waltz, Waltzes From Vienna), Jerome Kern (Till the Clouds Roll By), Cole Porter (Night and Day), and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart (Words and Music). Mostly, the material was strung together, sometimes hooked around a fanciful pseudo-biography of the composer in question, and audiences grinned and bore the plot elements while delighting to the music. An American in Paris was freed of any need to embrace composer George Gershwin as an onscreen figure by virtue of the 1945 screen biography Rhapsody in Blue, in which Robert Alda had portrayed the composer. Rather, Minnelli, Gene Kelly, and screenwriter Alan Jay Lerner simply used the title and the substance of the title work as a jumping-off point for a screen fantasy that happened to utilize much of the major Gershwin song catalog (indeed, the 1992 laserdisc edition, with the unmixed music tracks on the alternate soundtrack, reveals dozens of Gershwin tunes buried in the underscore). Some of the inspiration for the film's 16-minute ballet finale came from the Red Shoes ballet sequence from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1948 The Red Shoes, while the presence of Leslie Caron, although logical to the plot, originated with some studio executive's notion that the Powell-Pressburger movie had been a hit "because the girl was 'foreign'." Whatever its inspirations and imitations, An American in Paris won seven Academy Awards and box-office success. The overall film (especially the non-musical elements) hasn't worn quite so well over the years, but it was a vital piece of cinema in its time, stretching the envelope of the level of sophistication that a major studio would pursue, and ripping that envelope to shreds with the climactic ballet sequence, which became the model for still more daring sequences in such Hollywood films as Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon and such European imitators as Black Tights and Kelly's own dance extravaganza, Invitation to the Dance.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/09/2010
UPC:
0883929157778
Original Release:
1951
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
1:54:00
Sales rank:
8,078

Special Features

Concerto of a commentary hosted by Patricia Ward Kelly and featuring rare, often unheard interviews with Gene Kelly, Vincente Minnelli, Arthur Freed, Alan Jay Lerner, Johnny Green, Saul Chaplin, Michael Feinstein, Preston Ames and Irene Sharaff, and new observations by Leslie Caron and Nina Foch; Vintage fitzpatrick traveltalks short paris on parade; Classic cartoon symphony in slang; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Kelly Jerry Mulligan
Leslie Caron Lise Bouvier
Oscar Levant Adam Cook
Georges Guétary Henri Baurel
Nina Foch Milo Roberts
Eugene Borden George Mattieu
Martha Bamattre Mathilde Mattieu
Mary Young Old Woman Dancer
George Davis Francois
Mary Jones Old Lady Dancer
Dick Wessel Ben Macrow
Madge Blake Edna Mae Bestram (customer)
Nan Boardman Maid
Andre Charisse Dancing Partner
Ann Codee Therese
Art Dupuis Driver
John Eldredge Jack Jansen
Jeanne Lafayette Nun
Paul Maxey John McDowd
Greg McClure Artist
Noel Neill American Girl
Anna Q. Nilsson Kay Jansen
Alfred Paix Postman
Don Quinn Honeymooner
Hayden Rorke Tommy Baldwin
Alex Romero Actor

Technical Credits
Vincente Minnelli Director
John Alton Cinematographer,Consultant/advisor
Preston Ames Art Director
Saul Chaplin Musical Direction/Supervision
Adrienne Fazan Editor
Arthur Freed Producer
Ira Gershwin Songwriter
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Alfred Gilks Cinematographer
Johnny Green Musical Direction/Supervision
Gene Kelly Choreography
Alan Jay Lerner Original Story,Screenwriter
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Orry-Kelly Costumes/Costume Designer
Walter Plunkett Costumes/Costume Designer
Irene Sharaff Costumes/Costume Designer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- American in Paris
1. Credits [1:28]
2. Americans In Paris [4:34]
3. Coffee With Henri [3:32]
4. Embraceably Enchanting [3:35]
5. By Strauss [5:00]
6. Unexpected Sale [4:06]
7. Party Invitation [3:41]
8. I Got Rhythm [4:17]
9. Party of Two [2:51]
10. 10 Not Housebroken Yet [3:33]
11. Two Touchy Ladies [3:24]
12. Two Breakfast Calls [2:52]
13. Perfume Counter Encounter [2:56]
14. Tra-La-La [4:04]
15. Double Dater [2:14]
16. Love is Here to Stay [1:41]
17. I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise [5:50]
18. All-American News [3:09]
19. Concerto In F [3rd Movement] [2:16]
20. Artist at Work [5:18]
21. Woman Trouble [3:57]
22. 'S Wonderful [5:26]
23. I Love You Goodbye [3:13]
24. Art Students Ball [2:17]
25. Paris Is Not Enough [3:05]
26. An American In Paris [6:07]
27. Stairway to Paradise [17:29]

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An American in Paris 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
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