Thursday, September 16, 2010

1951: An American in Paris

Gene Kelly is a painter with a patroness who is "stuck on" him.  Leslie Caron (in her film debut) is a clerk in a perfume store, who is engaged to somebody else.  They happen to see each other in a cafe and fall madly in love.  It's complicated, but they make it work.

In many ways, this is a fairly typical Hollywood musical of the era, but it's one of the better ones.  Most of the songs are exceptionally good, and the dancing is superb.  The writing has just the right amount of cheesiness.  The story may be hopelessly predictable, but it's not bad.  It pretty much has everything those kind of musicals are supposed to have: love overcoming all obstacles; characters who randomly break out into perfectly harmonized songs and perfectly choreographed dances (if only life was really like that); and a magic piano that sounds like a full orchestra.  And let's not forget the 20-minute dream ballet sequence: you know, the ones that have really fake sets and go on forever and have nothing to do with the story except to reiterate what the characters are feeling (even though it was pretty obvious already), that are really only there to show off the stars' dancing abilities and to look like vaudeville?  Yeah, there was one of those at the end of this film, and while Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron are really, really, extremely good dancers who are fun to watch, I think that scene could have easily been cut in half.  But maybe that's just me.  Anyway, for the most part, I really liked this film.  It's not super deep and powerful like a lot of other Best Picture winners, but that's okay because it's not trying to be.  It was made to be entertaining, and that's what it is.

Next winner: The Greatest Show on Earth


  1. And the nomination for the longest sentence in this blog goes to . . .

  2. Haha, well it was the middle of the night, and that scene just about put me to sleep, so it was difficult to be concise.