Friday, January 15, 2021

12 Movies In 2021 - #1 An American In Paris

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS
Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron
Original Release Date: November 11, 1951

You may remember that earlier in the month I wrote a post about my plans to watch twelve classic old movies in 2021 and then discuss them here.  I had planned to begin last Friday, but in the end I was just too tired. So the following day, Saturday, I popped a bowl of popcorn and watched the first movie on the list, An American in Paris.

In 1951, An American In Paris swept the Academy Awards, with Oscars for best picture, best screenplay, best musical score, best cinematography, art direction, set design, and even a special Oscar for the choreography of its 18-minute closing ballet extravaganza.

The story, in a nutshell, is about Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly), an American ex-GI who decided to remain in Paris after the war and become a painter. His paintings come to the attention of Milo Roberts (Nina Foch), who is ultimately interested in a little more than just art. But Jerry has his eyes and heart set on Lisa Bovier (Leslie Caron), who, unfortunately is engaged to be married to another man. But in the end, true love prevails and Jerry gets his girl. 

I'll be honest, and I realize there are people out there who LOVE this movie, I didn't really care for it that much. Don't get me wrong, I love watching Gene Kelly dance, and I've always loved Leslie Caron!  But to me the movie seemed a little slow getting started, which I think is why I've started it more than once and until now never finished it. Then there was the way Jerry practically stalked Lisa, which I found a little creepy and unflattering. I can just tell you if a man ever did that to me, I would probably have him arrested. I also found his actions when learning the news of Lisa's engagement distasteful. He waisted no time making good on Milo's advances, even though deep down he had no feelings for her. All of this leads us to the costume party (if that girl had jumped into one more persons arms!), and the balcony love scene where Lisa's fiance' overhears her admitting her love for Jerry. The way he brought her back so quickly, I mean, how much could he have really loved the girl if he brought her back before the party was even over? What was that, a fifteen minute conversation? And then of course that leads us to the ballet-with-no-end-in-sight. I just couldn't, so I didn't. He got his girl, and that was all I needed to know.

Leslie Caron was very young in this picture, or at least, she looked very young, and while I love both actors, I found their match a little odd. I actually had to look twice when I first saw her, she was so young, and with her short hair and full, rosy cheecks. She reminded me of a doll I had once, Pepper. I'm showing my age here. Does anyone else remember that doll? And I just found out, much to my surprise, that she was the little sister to Tammy, and that doll was based on the movie Tammy and the Bachelor, one of my all time FAVORITE old movies. I'm not really sure where they dug up an entire family for Tammy, since she was an only child and lived on a shanty boat with her grandfather? It seems like a stretch to me.

Anyway, overall I wouldn't say the movie was horrible, but definitely not a favorite. The one saving grace was the music. Until I watched it all the way through I had no idea that such great songs like, S'Wonderful, and Love is Here To Stay came from this movie, and I truly enjoyed them. I also enjoyed watching Gene Kelly dance, and as I mentioned, I've always loved Leslie Caron. I am glad that I finally gave it a fair chance and watched it all the way through. It was closer to being a movie I'd never actually seen, but since I'd seen the beginning 2-3 times and stopped and then slept through it once and woke up right at the end, I had never watched it in its entirety. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts? Is it a favorite of yours, and if so why? What are some movies you like? I'm always looking for suggestions. I've seen a LOT of old movies, but I'm sure there are many I've never heard of!

Next up in February - Singing In the Rain, which, can you believe, I've never seen?!!!



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