2022 Blind Spot Series: An American In Paris

 

What I knew going in: I had seen clips of some of Gene Kelly's dances.

Jerry (Gene Kelly) is an American living in Paris. He's friends with Adam (Oscar Levant) a concert pianist, whose friends with Henri (Georges Gu├ętary) a French singer. It's through them Jerry encounters Lise (Leslie Caron) A beautiful young shopgirl that Jerry immediately falls for.

At its very least, this film is about two grown men lusting after a teenager, and it's easy to make fun of in that regard. In fact, this is one of those films I'd file under "oohhh shiny!" Meaning overall, it's a basic plot, not too thrilling of a story or set pieces, but then those dance number start and suddenly I don't care about how bare bones everything else is. The dancing is perfection.

That day dreaming sequence at the end? PERFECTION! BRAVO! I want to watch it on repeat. Those 20 minutes really elevate the entire film. I can see why this is Gene Kelly's favorite of his filmography. He danced his beautiful ass off. 

Leslie Caron is an actress I immediately want to see more of now. I'm definitely going to check out Lili for sure. And of course, more Gene Kelly for me. Bless HBO Max for having this on streaming, I'm going back to watch the ending again.

Grade: B


Comments

  1. Ugh this movie!! It is one I hold no affection for as I laid out when I used it during Dell's Against the Crowd blogathon a few years ago. I won't go through the many ways I found it torturous but here's the link to why:

    https://dellonmovies.blogspot.com/2016/08/against-crowd-blogathon-2016-guest-post.html

    Though I found him insufferable in this picture there were other films that I liked Gene Kelly quite a bit.

    Of his musicals I would recommend: (I’m assuming you’ve seen Singin’ in the Rain)

    For Me and My Gal-His first film. He had made a big splash on Broadway as the lead in Pal Joey and was brought out by MGM to team with Judy Garland who was their top musical star at the time. She took him under her wing and showed him the ropes of filming, earning his undying gratitude (the reason he signed on to Summer Stock when she was in rough shape), and they remained friends until her death. The film bogs down a bit towards the end in patriotic fervor but until then it’s a fine film.

    Anchors Aweigh-A breezy colorful bit of fluff with Gene and Frank Sinatra as sailors on leave who get entangled with Kathryn Grayson. Gene even dances with Jerry the Mouse (of Tom & Jerry)!

    Cover Girl-He made this on loan out to Columbia. It’s splashy and bright and was one of the films that made Rita Hayworth that studio’s top star.

    The Pirate-Parts of this are like a strange rococo fever dream with Gene an itinerant Caribbean musician in the 1830’s masquerading as an infamous pirate to win Judy Garland’s Manuela. It’s weird, wild, and messy but fascinating and Gene has a dream sequence where he swings around in the shortest short shorts imaginable!

    On the Town-Expansive musical filmed on location in New York City (which acts as another character in the film) with Kelly and Sinatra again as sailors looking to make the best of their three-day pass with buddy Jules Munshin along for the ride.

    He did some straight dramas (Inherit the Wind the most important of them-a great, great picture but not because of him) but musicals were his forte.

    Leslie Caron had a rougher time of it musical wise since she debuted at the end of the Golden Age of that genre. Her best known is the problematic Gigi but I liked the sumptuous version of Cinderella titled The Glass Slipper she starred in better. She has worked consistently over the decades both here and in her native France in both comedy and drama. She made a cute comedy with Cary Grant near the end of his career called Father Goose, but her best film is the starkly forlorn drama The L-Shaped Room. She was Oscar nominated for Best Actress for her work in it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have seen Singin' In the Rain, that's an excellent movie. I'll have to check out the ones you listed. I completely forgot you hated this movie lol. It definitely doesn't have the best script.

      Delete
    2. Love the picks you chose for Kelly and I would add, “It’s Always Fair Weather”, “Les Girls” “Brigadoon” and “Invitation To The Dance”. For Leslie Caron, I would add the musical, “Daddy Longlegs” with Fred Astaire. Now, she could easily be his daughter...maybe granddaughter but the dancing is wonderful and I love Thelma Ritter.

      Delete
    3. I LOVE Les Girls but while Gene's the male lead the film is really about the titular women with Mitzi Gaynor and especially the divine, sadly short-lived Kay Kendall being best in show.

      That age difference is my main problem with Daddy Long Legs. Again I love Fred Astaire and he's a remarkably fit 56 year old but Leslie is 24 and supposed to be younger in the script! I know it was standard practice at the time but it's still a bit much. However you are totally right Birgit about the dancing and Thelma Ritter! She and Eve Arden were the best friend a star ever had.

      Since we're recommending: Thelma's film "The Mating Season" is a real winning charmer (she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for it, she's really the lead however her costar-Gene Tierney was a major star at the time so the studio placed her in support). It's even on YouTube! :-)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-c94k3vlVM&t=12s

      Delete
    4. I hate huge age differences like that because they so rarely do it in the opposite direction. But you've both given me a lot to add to my list!

      Delete
    5. And on the rare occasions that they do have an older woman and younger man it's made to seem predatory on the woman's part whereas with the men it's just that they are just so damn irresistible and wise that they young coquette can't help but be swept away with the old fossil!!!

      Delete
    6. Yep! That old dick is so alluring. lmao

      Delete
  2. I need to see more films with Gene Kelly. The man can fucking dance. There's an elegance to him in the way he dances but there is also a lot of joy in what he does. I know Channing Tatum might not be in the same league as Kelly but he's good enough for me to be considered this generation's Gene Kelly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't seen Tatum dance in quite some time so I'm not sure I could make the comparison, but yes, this man can dance!

      Delete
  3. It’s an excellent film and the last 20 minutes is what one it Best Picture. Kelly & Donan wanted to make sure to base it on the major impressionist artists from the 19th and early 20th century from Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh to Lautrec and Rousseau. I remember Caron stating that Guetary was a nice man but not a very bright guy. She was very nervous since this was her debut. One of my favourite dance #’S was when Kelly dances with the kids and dances with the elderly woman. Lili is a good movie and more serious than I expected.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see why it won with the way it ended. It probably has one of the strongest third acts I've ever seen.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by, let's talk movies!
(comments are moderated to reduce spam)

Popular posts from this blog

Review: The Batman

Thursday Movie Picks: Wedding Movies

Random Ramblings: The Radio Flyer Conundrum