Jerry Mulligan, a struggling American painter in Paris, is "discovered" by an influential heiress with an interest in more than Jerry's art. Jerry in turn falls for Lise, a young French girl already engaged to a cabaret singer. Jerry jokes, sings and dances with his best friend, an acerbic would-be concert pianist, while romantic complications abound.Written by
Scott Renshaw <email@example.com>
Costume designer Irene Sharaff used 25 different shades of yellow for the Toulouse-Lautrec segment of the final ballet. See more »
During the ballet dance sequence just before the girls are all on their toes, Lise is in the background with Jerry...then in an instant appears in the front of the scene with most of the other dancers not showing as she waits for him. See more »
This is Paris, and I'm an American who lives here. My name is Jerry Mulligan, and I'm an ex G.I. In 1945 when the army told me to find my own job, I stayed on. And I'll tell you why: I'm a painter, and all my life that's all I've ever wanted to do.
See more »
And Presenting The American In Paris Ballet See more »
In 1995 a restored version was prepared for release on video/laserdisc, with the 18-minute ending ballet soundtrack reprocessed in stereo. See more »
Vincente Minnelli's "An American In Paris" is routinely hailed as one of the greatest musicals ever made. While it is wonderful to watch, I hardly think this is the greatest musical ever made, or even Minnelli or Kelly's best musical.
For my money, Minnelli's best musical remains "The Bandwagon", with Fred Astaire, released in 1953. Kelly's best musical for me is "Singin In the Rain", released after "American".
I think one of the problems with "American" is the final 20 minute ballet. While it may have been breathtaking in 1951, today it sparkles at times, but becomes rather tedious after a while. It could easily take a few cuts without any damage. Still, Minnelli and Kelly get points for even attempting such a feat.
Another problem is the screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner, which seems to be just one circumstance on top of another in place of a solid story and likable characters. Even the usually likable Kelly is rather abrasive here.
Yet another problem is Leslie Caron, who is terrible in her acting debut. She had yet to develop as an actress (her later films include "Gigi" and "The L-Shaped Room", much better performances) but her dancing is great and that is enough for now.
But there are several good things about "An American in Paris". One thing is the wonderful Gershwin songs. With songs like "S'Wonderful", "Our Love Is Here To Stay", and the final ballet, you would have to have a heart of stone NOT to love these. Another plus is the casting of pianist Oscar Levant, who steals every scene he appears in. He just brings the movie to life and it's a shame they didn't build the movie around him.
Even though it won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1951, "An American in Paris" feels like a minor work in a minor key compared to other musicals that won the prize such as "Gigi", "My Fair Lady", "The Sound of Music" and "Oliver!". But still, we sit back and enjoy what we see, despite our shortcomings. There have been worse musicals to grace the screen.
*** out of 4 stars
7 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this