An American in Paris (1951)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Musical, Romance


An American in Paris (1951) Poster

Three friends struggle to find work in Paris. Things become more complicated when two of them fall in love with the same woman.

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7.2/10
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  • Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in An American in Paris (1951)
  • Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in An American in Paris (1951)
  • Gene Kelly in An American in Paris (1951)
  • Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in An American in Paris (1951)
  • Leslie Caron in An American in Paris (1951)
  • Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in An American in Paris (1951)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


28 December 2002 | rch427
Irritating story somewhat relieved by fine dance numbers
OK, there is no doubt that Gene Kelly can dance, and he can even sing and act passably well. But never have I seen him play a less appealing character than in "An American in Paris". It's one thing to be a lovable rogue, so long as you retain a basic humanity and don't go out of your way to insult the viewer's decency. In some ways "An American in Paris" is Kelly's "Pal Joey", except Frank Sinatra managed to carry off that film by dint of his acting skills.

Part of the plot revolves around his being a painter whose "talent" has been discovered by wealthy patroness Milo (the lovely Nina Foch in an unsympathetic role). Unfortunately for the credibility of the plot, Kelly's paintings are are "motel art" at its worst. (For anyone who questions my credibility: I'm a professional artist and am quite familiar with "the School of the City of Paris" style his paintings ape) And what does Kelly--who supposedly wants to have a solo show "more than anything on earth"--do when it is dropped into his lap by Milo? He promptly does everything to sabotage her interest.

Kelly's interest in Leslie Caron couldn't be more superficial and unbelievable. Despite what others have written here, the scene with Kelly and Caron on the banks of the Seine ("Our Love is Here to Stay") is like the rest of their relationship: stiff, perfunctory and unconvincing.

The story bogs down considerably half-way through, and finally, any semblance of plot or character development is thrown out the window. It's as if director Minelli said "hey, we've got a bunch of great Gershwin Brothers music. Let's stage a big dance finale that is set in Old Paris but has nothing to do with anything else in this film and leaves every story element unresolved". Then, for no reason at all, we'll resolve the plot". What a load of crap.

There is plenty that is visually and audibly appealing in "An American in Paris". The sets and costuming are good, the music is, with few exceptions, excellent. Oscar Levant gives a great supporting performance. But if you want to see Gene Kelly at his best, I recommend watching "Invitation to the Dance" instead, where his considerable dancing skills and charm are unhindered by the very things that cause "An American in Paris" to fail.

Critic Reviews



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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" is the only one in the film that is presented as a show tune; the rest are all seamlessly integrated into the action. In the segment, Georges Guétary walks up a staircase adorned with showgirls whilst singing the number. Gene Kelly later said that probably the hardest thing he had to do in the film was teach Guetary how to climb steps while performing without tripping up. Another factor complicating the shooting of this sequence was the intensity of the studio lights which proved too hot for several of the showgirls who passed out.


Quotes

Jerry Mulligan: This is Paris, and I'm an American who lives here. My name is Jerry Mulligan, and I'm an ex G.I. In 1945 when the army told me to find my own job, I stayed on. And I'll tell you why: I'm a painter, and all my life that's all I've ever wanted to do.


Goofs

We see Adam in his studio three times. When we first see him, alone, he is playing a black baby grand. The second time, he is playing a brown baby grand upon which Jerry dances. In the third Adam studio sequence he is alone, again, playing the black grand. Perhaps the brown piano was fashioned to accommodate and withstand Jerry's dancing on it.


Crazy Credits

And Presenting The American In Paris Ballet


Alternate Versions

In 1995 a restored version was prepared for release on video/laserdisc, with the 18-minute ending ballet soundtrack reprocessed in stereo.


Soundtracks

I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise
(1922) (uncredited)
Music by
George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin and Buddy G. DeSylva)
Sung and Danced by Georges Guétary in his show

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | Musical | Romance

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