Midshipman Roger Byam joins Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian aboard HMS Bounty for a voyage to Tahiti. Bligh proves to be a brutal tyrant and, after six pleasant months on Tahiti, ... See full summary »
Jerry Mulligan, a struggling American painter in Paris, is "discovered" by an influential heiress with an interest in more than Jerry's art. Jerry in turn falls for Lise, a young French girl already engaged to a cabaret singer. Jerry jokes, sings and dances with his best friend, an acerbic would-be concert pianist, while romantic complications abound. Written by
Scott Renshaw <email@example.com>
In the "By Strauss" waltz, Jerry is dancing with two ladies in the café, and his cap falls off while he is kneeling. He briefly attempts to retrieve it, then leaves it where it is. See more »
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.
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Take an accomplished director, one of the world's most famous dancers, a dreamily romantic setting and music from none other than George Gershwin and what do you have? In the case of An American in Paris, you have a film which, for me, falls flat on its face.
The winning combination of talent and reputation thrilled the critics, back in 1951 and the film was showered with awards including six Oscars. But, looked at coldly and in retrospect, it's difficult to understand why . Right from the opening scene, when Gene Kelly who is supposed to be starving in a Paris garret wakes up looking prosperous, over-confident and heavily made-up, you can already hear the turkey feathers starting to rustle.
The story falters and bumbles its way through yawning intervals which separate the big numbers and the characters become less convincing with every scene. Leslie Caron, when she finally turns up, looks terrified and toothy and though she dances superbly, seems too timid to bring magic to any of her scenes. She and Kelly dance pretty well together, technically, but without the slightest sense of partnership. Watching them, I got the impression that each would rather have been somewhere else.
The music, despite such great numbers, seems to have been shoe-horned into the narrative and often, doesn't fit. The scene where Gershwin's rattlingly wonderful Concerto in F is performed, for instance, has nothing to do with anything else in the film. It does, however, provide moments of sweet relief from the limping story and embarrassingly stilted scenes.
It's hard to believe that Oklahoma was released only four years later, in 1955 and yet, seems to belong to a different era. Oklahoma succeeds in every respect where An American in Paris fails. The acting is convincing, the story works well, the casting is faultless, the choreography - apart from the disappointing dream sequence - is sublime. But above all, the characters in Oklahoma perform with zest and sparkle in overdrive. That makes the film overflow with a sense of freshness, excitement and overflowing 'joy de vivre'. What a difference!
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