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Weary of the conventions of Parisian society, a rich playboy and a youthful courtesan-in-training enjoy a platonic friendship, but it may not stay platonic for long. Gaston, the scion of a wealthy Parisian family finds emotional refuge from the superficial lifestyle of upper class Parisian 1900s society with the former mistress of his uncle and her outgoing, tomboy granddaughter, Gigi. When Gaston becomes aware that Gigi has matured into a woman, her grandmother and aunt, who have educated Gigi to be a wealthy man's mistress, urge the pair to act out their roles but love adds a surprise twist to this delightful turn-of-the 20th century Cinderella story. Written by
In the early scene in the park, the principal actor casts a shadow backwards (away from the viewer), while the carriages in the background cast shadows forwards (towards the viewer), revealing the production lighting. See more »
[Honore walks through Paris and greets the viewer]
Good afternoon! As you see, this lovely city all around us is Paris, and this lovely park is of course the Bois de Boulogne. Who am I? Well, allow me to introduce myself: I am Honore Lachaille. Born: Paris. When...
...not lately. This is 1900, so let's just say not in this century. Circumstances: comfortable. Profession: lover, and collector of beautiful things. Not antiques mind you, younger things.
[...] See more »
Directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Leslie Caron as the title character, "Gigi" (1958) is nothing short of sweet and delightful. Gigi is a coltish teen in 1900's Paris who lives with her grandmother Madame Alvarez (Hermione Gingold) and who loves to hang out with family friend Gaston Lachaille (Louis Jourdan), an international jet-setter and playboy whose every relationship is documented in the papers. The pseudo-narrator of the film is Henri Lachaille (Maurice Chevalier), Gaston's uncle and a notorious playboy in his own right, who loves to give his nephew relationship advice, solicited or not. Gigi is being bred by her grandmother and aunt to become a refined woman so she can become a mistress for rich and powerful men, so it comes as both a surprise and delight to the women to discover that Gaston may be a suitable candidate. However, Gigi's innocence may not allow this to happen, as she struggles with making the transition between carefree girl to a refined lady with social responsibilities.
Musicals are a rare genre on my "films I adore" list, but "Gigi" has long been a favorite film of mine, despite its sappy moments and sometimes corny jokes. What makes "Gigi" such a good film is its unmitigated Charm with a capital "C"; one can't help but grin a little when Chevalier sings "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" because he doesn't stop flashing that high voltage smile himself. And I cannot get through the scene between Chevalier and Gingold when they sing "I Remember it Well" by the seaside without tearing up because it is just so damn cute. Sure, the revelations and epiphanies are pretty easy and kind of out of nowhere, but considering it is an MGM musical from the 1950's, I would be surprised if there weren't these kinds of things. Everyone in the film looks like they are having a good time (particularly Chevalier), and the great Lerner-Loewe music against the Parisian backdrop is enough to sell me.
"Gigi", while being a 10-time Oscar winner (including Best Picture) has unfortunately been marginalized by some as a typical MGM fluff piece, could be a hard sell, particularly to the jaded Generation Y - and - younger audience. However, since I myself am probably one of the most cynical film-viewers I personally know of, take my word for it "Gigi" is a lot of fun, and a good way to spend two hours. 8/10 --Shelly
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