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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
Leslie Caron described filming inside Maxim's as a "nightmare." Vincente Minnelli was given only a few days to get the important shots he needed inside Paris' most famous restaurant. It was a beautiful but tight space, and it had the added challenge of its signature mirrors along the walls, which could easily reflect the cameras and lights if the crew wasn't careful. Caron recalled, "From the sidewalk entrance to the dining area, the space was crowded like an anthill full of technicians trying to set up the lamps, the black flags, the cables and sound equipment-a constant flow of ladies in evening dresses with hats bigger than the waiters' trays, makeup artists wiping the sweat off the gentlemen's brows, the blaring playback music drowning all else, adding to the confusion." See more »
During Gaston's song by the pond thinking of Gigi, there is a fence in the pond forcing the swans to stay in close background. The swans, obviously confused yet undeterred, keep swimming into the fence attempting to get to the swan in deep background on the other side of the pond. 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 »
Having seen this film several times, I definitely have to rate Gigi as one of the most charming musicals ever made. The delightful score, by Lerner & Loewe, includes songs such as "I Remember it Well," "The Night They Invented Champagne," "Thank Heaven For Little Girls," as well as the title track, "Gigi," sung with surprising candor and earnestness by Louis Jourdan. Although reminiscent of their work on My Fair Lady, this score not only stands beautifully on its own but also grows in depth with each viewing.
The three principals, Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, and Maurice Chevalier, along with the Paris locales helps maintain a distinctively French flavor, especially in the way the characters relate and interact.
For everyone who has commented on the political incorrectness of the story, a closer look will actually reveal the true feminist perspective of Colette's work which was groundbreaking for its time: 1) the story is a commentary and observation of the limited social and economic options for women outside of marriage during the turn of the century Paris, 2) Although Gigi (Caron) never fully masters her lessons and grooming, she is able to capture Gaston's (Jourdan) heart precisely because of her imperfections, and 3) most importantly, it is Gaston rather than Gigi who is forced to truly transform himself and defy the social conventions of the time to bring the story to its resolution.
Compare this to My Fair Lady, which offers similar social commentary but resolves itself in a more standard way: For example 1) Eliza Dolittle only becomes noticeable and lovable after transforming her outward appearance and speech patterns 2) Although Professor Higgins finally realizes his love for Eliza at the end, it is Eliza who is forced to submit her will by effecting a reconciliation that does nothing to resolve any of the issues raised in the scenes leading up to that point.
Definitely see Gigi and judge for yourself. (By the way, the widescreen version is sooooo much better. This is especially apparent in numbers such as "I Remember It Well" where entire characters are forced to be cut out of the screen.)
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