Phillip Duggan (sparhawk2k) wrote in celluloidraving,
Phillip Duggan

An American in Paris (1951) ... 8.0/10


I'm once again trying to review a movie after a substantial break from the viewing (which I find exceedingly difficult) but there's no getting around it. Heh. I have way too many movies at the moment to try watching it again. Obviously one of my favorite things about this movie is the singing and dancing. In many ways that's what I'm sitting down to see. It's certainly what pulls me to a particular title or at least introduces me to it often enough. Obviously, if you're obsessed with Gene Kelly then you should see this movie. There are some wonderful dance sequences and songs. I've Got Rhythm with all of the little kids is one of the most adorable things I have ever seen. And the long ballet dance sequence is simple amazing. Though as a warning for people who don't particularly like musicals, dance, ballet, etc, it is quite long and could seem to drag on if you're not interested in it beforehand.

And while I'm pulling much of this directly off the Internet there is also quite a bit of interesting trivia associated with this movie, especially that long dance sequence. Irene Sharaff designed a style for each of the ballet sequence sets, reflecting various French impressionist painters: Raoul Dufy (the Place de la Concorde), Edouard Manet (the flower market), Maurice Utrillo (a Paris street), Henri Rousseau (the fair), Vincent Van Gogh (the Place de l'Opera), and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (the Moulin Rouge). The backgrounds took six weeks to build, with 30 painters working nonstop.

The set design throughout the film was magnificent. If nothing else, it was just a beautiful film to watch. Gene Kelly tried to get the studio to film in Paris like On The Town was filmed in New York but they wouldn't do it and used an insane number of sets instead. And while filming on location is nice they still ended up with a wonderful world all their own.

It did seem at times like the story was just there for the dance numbers. And it also seemed like the entire movie was there to set up the big dance sequence. But despite that it was still entertaining. I definitely prefer many of Gene Kelly's other movies such as Singin' in the Rain for their story and general fun. And for a non-fan it wouldn't be at the top of the list for things I think they should see� But it's also yet another fun episode in an amazing career. And a very beautiful film all around. Just don't be falling asleep when you decide to start it.

"Back home everyone said I didn't have any talent. They might be saying the same thing over here but it sounds better in French."
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