Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Gigi


GIGI (COLOUR, 1958)

Director
Vicente Minnelli

Cast
Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold, Eva Gabor, Isabel Jeans and John Abbott

Ages
7 and up

Plot
Gigi (Caron) is a tomboy in 1900 Paris. Her grandmother (Gingold), though, wants her to be a lady and marry a wealthy man, so she sends Gigi to her sister (Jeans) to learn to be a courtesan. However, Gigi is already in love with playboy Gaston (Jourdan), whose uncle, Honore (Chevalier) had an affair with Gigi’s aunt way back. However, Gaston has a girl named Liane d'Exelmans (Gabor).  Will Gaston fall for Gigi?


Why it’s good
Maybe the plot is dated; no one now wants to raise girls just so that they can marry rich men. But the songs are nice, maybe provocative and sometimes even catchy and addictive.

This is considered Maurice Chevalier’s best film in his post-war years, after making Ernst Lubitsch comedy-musicals two decades before for swanky Paramount Pictures. The lyrics for Frederick Loewe’s music are written by Alan Jay Lerner. The Broadway play, originally written by Collette, is also quite good (with Audrey Hepburn as Gigi).

Leslie Caron’s Gigi is a strong personality, especially when she embarrasses Gaston.

Parent’s guide
There are scenes of drinking; one song is called "The Night We Invented Champagne".

Trivia
This film ended up winning nine Oscars, including one for Best Picture. The day after, MGM telephone operators were given the order to answer all phone calls with "M-Gigi-M".

If you like this…

Leslie Caron’s other good MGM musical, "An American in Paris" (1951), set in the same location four or five decades later.   

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