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An American in Paris is a MGM musical film inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition by George Gershwin. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, and Oscar Levant, the film is set in Parismarker, and was directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner. The music is by George Gershwin, with lyrics by his brother Ira, with additional music by Saul Chaplin, the music director.

The story of the film is interspersed with show-stopping dance numbers choreographed by Gene Kelly and set to Gershwin tunes. Songs and music include "I Got Rhythm," "I'll Build A Stairway to Paradise," "'S Wonderful," and "Our Love is Here to Stay". The climax is "The American in Paris" ballet, an 18 minute dance featuring Kelly and Caron set to Gershwin's An American in Paris. The ballet alone cost more than $500,000, a staggering sum at the time.

Plot summary

Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) is an exuberant American expatriate in Paris trying to make a reputation as a painter. His friend Adam (Oscar Levant) is a struggling concert pianist who is a long time associate of a French singer, Henri Baurel (Georges Guétary). A lonely society woman, Milo Roberts (Nina Foch) takes Jerry under her wing and supports him, but is interested in Jerry more than his art. Jerry remains oblivious to her feelings, and falls in love with Lise (Leslie Caron), a French girl he meets at a restaurant. Lise loves him as well, but she is already in a relationship with Henri, whom she feels indebted to for having saved her family during World War II.

At a raucous masked ball, with everyone in black-and-white costumes, Milo learns that Jerry is not interested in her, Jerry learns that Lise is in love with him, but is marrying Henri the next day, and Henri overhears their conversation. When Henri drives Lise away, Jerry daydreams about being with her all over Paris, his reverie broken by a car horn, the sound of Henri bringing Lise back to him.

Cast



Cast notes

Soundtrack



Production

The film was shot in Hollywood, so it features some quirks in the occasional French dialogue. Notably, near the beginning of the I Got Rhythm number, one of the 'French' children Jerry, parle anglais 'à nous, which sounds rather curious, containing mistakes both in direct object placement and in respectful address. In the French soundtrack, which switches to the original sound for the duration of the songs, the à nous is masked through a plop sound, to make the sentence more palatable.

Hollywood movies set in France seldom used location shooting or native speakers. However, great care was sometimes put into reproducing Paris surroundings, as in An American in Paris or Irma La Douce. Many French Paris-set movies of this era avoided location work too, and sometimes the same art directors (Alexandre Trauner being the best known example) worked on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Awards and honors

Kelly and Caron dance


Academy Awards

Wins

Nominations

Golden Globes

Wins

Nominations

Others

Gene Kelly received an Academy Honorary Award that year for "his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film." It was his only Oscar.

The film was entered into the 1952 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1993, An American in Paris was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

American Film Institute recognition

AFI also honored star Gene Kelly as #15 of the top 25 American male screen legends.

Stage adaptation

A stage version of the musical has been adapted by Ken Ludwig, and began previews at the Alley Theatremarker (Houstonmarker) on April 29, 2008, officially opening on May 18 through June 22. The production, directed by Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd with choreography by Randy Skinner, stars Harry Groener and Kerry O'Malley. The musical has many of the film's original songs, and also incorporates other Gershwin songs, such as "They All Laughed", "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and "Love Walked In".

Notes

  1. playbill
  2. Alley Theatre


External links




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