Movies

An American in Paris (1951)

Genre:

Musical

Description:

In An American in Paris Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) is a poor American painter living in Paris. A rich society lady, Milo Roberts (Nina Foch), takes him under her wing and supports him. Although Milo is more interested in Jerry than in his paintings, Jerry falls in love with the young Lise (Leslie Carron). All the while not knowing that she is the girlfriend of one of his friends.

Cast:

Gene Kelly                      –                            Jerry Mulligan
Leslie Carron                –                             Lise Bouvier
Nina Foch                      –                             Milo Roberts
Oscar Levant                –                             Adam Cook
Georges Guetary        –                             Henri Baurel

The original trailer of An American in Paris:
Facts:

–         This musical was inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition by George Gershwin. The lyrics are made by his brother Ira.

–         Cyd Charisse was supposed to play the part of Lise, but got pregnant before filming. Gene Kelly then discovered the unknown Leslie Carron when he saw her perform in a ballet while vacationing in Paris. He figured it would be a good idea to let a real French girl play Lise.

–         Even though Vincente Minnelli is credited as the sole director, he was often tied up due to his divorce with Judy Garland. In those cases he left the directing to Gene Kelly.

–         Oscar Levant, who plays Adam Cook, came up with the memorable line: ‘It’s not a pretty face, I grant you. But underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character’.

–         The film was not shot in Paris but, to Gene Kelly’s dismay, in the studio. So director Vincente Minnelli, recruited all French people living in southern California to play lesser roles and crowd extras.

–         Since Leslie Carron had suffered from malnutrition during World War II and was not used to the rigorous film schedule, she was only able to work every other day.

–         The climax of the film is the American in Paris ballet, a 17 minute ballet sequence, which had cost 500,000 dollar and took a month to film.

–         Oscar Levant was more of a pianist than an actor, but he signed on because he was a good friend of George Gershwin.

–         Gene Kelly was 19 years older than his co-star Leslie Carron.

Awards:

Wins:

Best Picture – An American in Paris – 1952 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Art – Cedric Gibbons, E. Preston Ames a.o –  1952 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Cinematography – Alfred Gilks and John Alton – 1952 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Costume Design – Orry-Kelly, Walter Plunkett and Irene Sharaff – 1952 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Music – Johnny Green and Saul Chaplin – 1952 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Writing – Alan Jay Lerner –  1952 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Motion Picture, musical/comedy – An American in Paris – 1952 Golden Globes
Best Written American Musical – Alan Jay Lerner – Writers Guild of America

Nominations:

Best Director – Vincente Minnelli –  1952 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Film Editing – Adrienne Fazan –   1952 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Best Director – Vincente Minelli – 1952 Golden Globes
Best Motion Picture Actor, comedy/musical – Gene Kelly – 1952 Golden Globe
Best Film – An American in Paris – 1952 British Academy of Film and Television Awards
Grand Prize – Vincente Minnelli – 1952 Cannes Film Festival
Outstanding Directorial Achievement – Vincente Minnelli – Directors Guild of America

Influence:

An American in Paris is a beloved classic, even people who have not seen it will recognize its name. At the time, it was a completely different kind of musical than people were used to and it inspired the making of another classic: Singin’ in the Rain. It secured Gene Kelly’s status as a classic Hollywood icon and showed his appeal as a leading man. In 1993 An American in Paris was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’. The music is iconic as well; I Got Rhythm has become a popular jazz standard. Upon its release, An American in Paris was a big hit  and won six Oscars, beating films like A Streetcar Named Desire for Best Picture.

 

 

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