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>
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the Top 100 Greatest American Movies at #68. (However, the movie failed to make the top 100 in AFI's 2007 update of the list.) See more »
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: 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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And Presenting The American In Paris Ballet See more »
In 1995 a restored version was prepared for release on video/laserdisc, with the 18-minute ending ballet soundtrack reprocessed in stereo. See more »
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.
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