An American in Paris

Lynn’s Druthers Marathon, part 21

Title: An American in Paris
Year: 1951
Length: 113 minutes
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Writer: Alan Jay Lerner
Starring: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary, Nina Foch
Music: George Gershwin; Ira Gershwin (lyrics); Conrad Salinger (orchestrator)
Oscars: won for Best Picture, Best Story & Screenplay, Best Cinematography (color), Best Score (musical), Best Art Direction/Set Decoration (color) and Best Costume Design (color); nominated for Best Director and Best Editing
I saw it: on video (rented from Greencine), yesterday
Synopsis: an American in Paris falls in love with an engaged woman

My reaction
Concept:1/4 (Bad)
Story:1/4 (Bad)
Characters:1/4 (Bad)
Dialog:3/4 (Good)
Pacing:1/4 (Bad)
Cinematography:3/4 (Good)
Special effects/design:4/4 (Great)
Acting:2/4 (Indifferent) Caron is pretty bad (when she’s not dancing).
Music:3/4 (Good) Great arrangements. Great performances. I’ve never cared for “An American in Paris” as a piece of music, but as a 1950s film score it’s perfect. But I’ve got to take points off for the song selection. If you’re picking from all of Gershwin’s songs (in other words, half of the American standards ever written), how is it that so many of them are mediocre and obscure? I mean, “By Struass?” “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise?” What is this crap?
Subjective Rating: 7/10 (Good, 3/4 (Good)) Overrated, but it has its moments. Many of the musical numbers are boring. Kelly and Caron do just enough crazy impressive dancing to show that they’ve got no excuse to be so boring the rest of the time. I’m not sure why I ended up liking the movie, but I think it has more to do with the deluge of fifties style than any of its merits. Also, I’m a sucker for movies that go for an unreasonably long stretch of time without dialog.
Objective Rating (Average):2.2/4 (Okay)


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