TCM 31 Days of Oscar
I’ve challenged myself to watch a movie every day from Turner Classic Movie channel’s 31 Days of Oscar. I’ll be focusing on the movies I haven’t watched yet, with maybe just a few movies I’ve already seen.
Here is my 18th day and movie of my challenge to TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar.
An American in Paris
8 out of 10 All Stars
1951 Musical, Romance film. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, and Nina Foch.
The 360° Game: stars off with Executive Suite starring Nina Foch, and she was in An American in Paris with Oscar Levant who was in the next film, The Band Wagon.
And the Oscar goes to… 6 Academy Awards! 1) Best Picture: Arthur Freed, producer. 2) Best Art – Set Decoration, Color: E. Preston Ames, Cedric Gibbons, F. Keogh Gleason, and Edwin B. Willis. 3) Best Cinematography, Color: John Alton and Alfred Gilks. 4) Best Costume Design, Color: Orry-Kelly, Walter Plunkett, and Irene Sharaff. 5) Best Musical Score: Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green. 6) Best Writing, Scoring and Screenplay: Alan Jay Lerner.
And a Special Oscar Honorary Award to Gene Kelly for “his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film.” (1951 Awards)
Short Synopsis: An American soldier (Gene Kelly) stays in Paris after World War 2 to paint and falls in love with a French beauty (Leslie Caron).
A note before I start watching this. And why I chose this movie… This is said to be one of the all-time great musicals (even TCM Host, Ben Mankiewicz says this during the commentaries before and after showing this film).
My Thoughts: This is a fun musical with Gene Kelly. I’ve seen some of his other films so I wasn’t wowed by his amazing dancing. He is a great dancer and did a pretty good job with singing too. The movie revolves around three artists (two of them are unemployed) in Paris just after World War 2. Gene Kelly is one of those unemployed artists and is an American veteran (GI), Jerry Mulligan. All three guys are “dreamers” but it looks like Jerry’s the one constantly in the clouds because he has more time to sing and dance that the others. That’s probably due to what looks like procrastinating, until Nina Foch as Molly comes into the story and takes action with his artwork. But of course there’s also some romance in this musical. Actually more like a Love Triangle (or more) because Jerry falls in love with Lise (pronounced Lisa it seems, played by Leslie Caron in her first role), and Lise is already taken with Henri, but starts to fall for Jerry too. Oh and Molly is infatuated with Jerry too. As you probably guessed where the romance ends with all Love Triangles, than you probably figured out the unlucky third-wheel guy (and gal) is. I figured it out pretty quickly too.
As for the songs, there is a lot of them that I’ve heard and even seen in other movies. Gene and the other cast members did a really nice job with these songs. My favorite was “I Got Rhythm” with Gene Kelly as Jerry.
Wikipedia listed off 10 of those songs and here they are: 1) “Embraceable You” – Lise. 2) “Nice Work If You Can Get It” – Hank. 3) “By Strauss” – Jerry, Hank, Adam. 4) “I Got Rhythm” – Jerry. 5) “Tra-la-la (This Time It’s Really Love)” – Jerry, Adam. 6) “Our Love Is Here to Stay” – Jerry, Lise. 7) “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise” – Hank. 8) “Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra” – Adam, The MGM Symphony Orchestra. 9) “‘S Wonderful” – Jerry, Hank. 10) “An American in Paris” Ballet – Jerry, Lise, Ensemble.
The Play by Play Thoughts…
0:02 An American in Paris Invitation. After two minutes or so of listening to Ben Mankiewicz talk about the film, here’s the opening credits with what looks like an invitation card.
0:04 “This is Paris.” Jerry is giving us a narrative of what’s going on in the beginning of this movie: like the place (like we couldn’t tell it was Paris already), who he is – An American who lives in Paris – Jerry Mulligan ex-GI (military veteran), the year 1945 (a little noticeable with the old cars), Paris is the “mecca” place for an artist/ painters, and what street he lives on.
0:05 Jerry’s Very Very Very Small Apartment. It looks smaller that a modern bathroom and yet Jerry’s got quite a system going in.
0:06 “Adam Cook is my name.” And Henri “Hank” Baurel…. a out of work piano player and a show musician/ actor. And… oh I guess that’s all of them.
0:12 Leslie Caron as Lise, a well rounded dancer and woman. She’s also very flexible. Both the character and the actress that is. Along with 5 dance routines to describe her.
0:15 Jerry and Henri meet. In song – “By Strauss”. Being that it takes a long time for Jerry to make friends, it’s understandable why Adam starts this song off.
0:20 Jerry’s Art. Ok Jerry enough song and dance, now off to work. Unlucky that he’s got to shoo away an American Third Year College student, but luckily he’s met Milo Roberts as in Venus de and Suntan Oil. Especially lucky for Jerry to have met Milo because he gets to not only show off riding home in her car, but also an invitation to her party where he’ll probably meet Lise.
0:27 “An American Song, I Got It.” The song is “I Got Rhythm.” I’ve heard this song many of times. It’s cute with Gene Kelly and the kids.
0:37 Milo’s “Party” for two please. Well it looked like it wasn’t the type of party Jerry was thinking of, but yet I was still right that he would somehow meet Lise.
0:40 Very short version of “Our Love is Here to Stay.” Poor Milo is trying to help him out with his artwork (and it looks like more too or something), and there’s Jerry stalking poor Lise.
0:48 Adam’s busy working on his art. But there’s always time to sing about Love. “Tra-La-La” song.
0:58 “Our Love is Here to Stay” song and dance. Leslie and Gene looked pretty good together when they were dancing.
1:03 “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise.” And it’s an impressive nice pink staircase Henri. And it’s a good thing this songs there because I almost forgot about Henri.
1:08 Adam’s “Concerto”. And Adam is everywhere.
1:15 Back to work Jerry. And now that we’ve had all the song and dance through it’s time for Jerry to quit procrastinating and make more paintings for his exhibit. But of course, there is always time for Lise.
1:22 “S’Wonderful.” Except that Adam doesn’t think that it’s”S’Wonderful” or “S’Marvelous” that Lise should care for both Henri AND Jerry. Ya. Even Adam isn’t fooled with how this Love Triangle is going to end. As for the song, I liked it but prefer it sung by Audrey Hepburn.
1:28 Our with the Old and on with the… well… on with Molly. Lise has told Jerry about her engagement. And the very next scene, who has he moved on with? Poor Molly. At least she gets to go to an “Art’s Students Ball” on New Years. Such a smooth operator. And what a strange party.
1:34 “You’ll always be standing next to me Lise.” And that’s some sketch he drew within a couple of minutes. At least Jerry told the truth to Molly. Lise and Jerry’s goodbye was sweet. Poetic even and nice touch with ripping up the sketch. And what’s this? Henri heard all.
1:37 “An American in Paris” Ballet. First half was good, and then I thought the dance was over, but I guess it isn’t because now Jerry and Lise gets to do a dance together inside the sketch too.
1:54 Wake up Jerry. Lise has come back to you. Time to snap out of that long serenade. I know that it costed the film makers about $450,000 just to make those dance scenes and it’s great, but it’s time to snap out of it Jerry because Lise came back for you.
1:55 The End. A nice ending, although my hopeless romantic side would’ve preferred Lise going down the steps to meet Jerry rather than they way did it with Jerry running down the steps and Lise slowly but surely going up some staircase too.