Tuesday, October 5, 2010

1958: Gigi

Young Gigi is being trained by her grandmother and great-aunt to become a courtesan.  Rich playboy Gaston is bored with the world.  He is also slowly falling in love with Gigi, but it takes him a long time to notice.  Then when he does, he's not sure how to show it.  Gaston's uncle is glad he's not young anymore, as long as it doesn't prevent him from chasing after young women.  They all sing random songs, and everything turns out all right in the end.

I find this film incredibly disturbing, especially since it's disguised as a happy musical.  Maurice Chevalier does a good job, don't get me wrong, but I find it creepy for a film to open with an old guy singing, "Thank heaven for little girls."  Maybe that's just me.  But the fact that Gigi's relatives want to send her off to get her heart broken by a notorious playboy makes me cringe.  Beyond the disturbing storyline, I guess the film's okay.  The performances are good, except Leslie Caron seems a little old to be playing a schoolgirl.  Most of the songs are excellent, or at least have clever lyrics, but if they had to dub Caron's singing, couldn't they at least get someone who sounded a little like her?  The sets and costumes are vibrant, and there are some interesting camera angles.  Still, I think this film was overrated.  I definitely do not think it deserved to win nine Academy Awards.  But maybe the films of 1958 were particularly bad.  I don't know.  This film isn't terrible, but it's not great either.

Next: Ben-Hur

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