An American in Paris (film)
|An American in Paris|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Vincente Minnelli|
|Produced by||Arthur Freed|
|Written by||Alan Jay Lerner|
|Music by||George Gershwin
|Editing by||Adrienne Fazan|
|Running time||113 minutes|
$8,005,000 (worldwide theatrical rentals)
An American in Paris is a 1951 American musical film inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition by George Gershwin. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary, and Nina Foch, the film is set in Paris, and was directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner. The music is by George Gershwin, with lyrics by his brother Ira, with additional music by Saul Chaplin, the music director.
The story of the film is interspersed with dance numbers choreographed by Gene Kelly and set to Gershwin's music. Songs and music include "I Got Rhythm", "I'll Build A Stairway to Paradise", " 'S Wonderful", and "Our Love is Here to Stay". The climax of the film is "The American in Paris" ballet, a 16 minute dance featuring Kelly and Caron set to Gershwin's An American in Paris. The ballet alone cost more than $500,000.
American World War II veteran Jerry Mulligan is now an exuberant expatriate in Paris trying to make a reputation as a painter. His friend, Adam, is a struggling concert pianist who is a longtime associate of a French singer, Henri Baurel. A lonely society woman, Milo Roberts, takes Jerry under her wing and supports him, but is more interested in Jerry than his art. Jerry remains oblivious to her feelings and falls in love with Lise Bouvier, a French girl he meets at a restaurant. Lise loves him as well but she is already in a relationship with Henri, to whom she feels indebted for keeping her safe during World War II. For most of the film Jerry is unaware of Lise's relationship with Henri.
Eventually Jerry learns that Lise is in love with him but is marrying Henri the next day. He invites Milo to a masked ball that night. At the raucous masked ball, with everyone in black-and-white costumes, Milo learns from Adam that Jerry is not interested in her, and Henri overhears Jerry and Lise saying goodbye to each other. When Henri and Lise drive away, Jerry daydreams about being with her all over Paris to the tune of the George Gershwin composition An American in Paris. His reverie is broken by a car horn, the sound of Henri bringing Lise back to him. They embrace as the Gershwin composition (and the film) ends.
- Gene Kelly as Jerry Mulligan
- Leslie Caron as Lise Bouvier
- Oscar Levant as Adam Cook
- Georges Guétary as Henri "Hank" Baurel
- Nina Foch as Milo Roberts
Hayden Rorke, best known for playing Dr. Bellows on the TV series I Dream of Jeannie, has a small part as a friend of Nina Foch's character. Noel Neill, later to portray Lois Lane on the TV series The Adventures of Superman, has a small role as an American art student who tries to criticize Jerry Mulligan's paintings. Judy Landon, better known for her appearance in Kelly's next musical Singin' in the Rain (and as the wife of Brian Keith), appears as a dancer in the Stairway to Paradise sequence.
Music and dance 
- "Embraceable You" - Lise
- "Nice Work If You Can Get It" - Hank
- "By Strauss" - Jerry, Hank, Adam
- "I Got Rhythm" - Jerry
- "Tra-la-la (This Time It's Really Love)" - Jerry, Adam
- "Our Love Is Here to Stay" - Jerry, Lise
- "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" - Hank
- "Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra" - Adam, The MGM Symphony Orchestra
- " 'S Wonderful" - Jerry, Hank
- "An American in Paris Ballet" - Jerry, Lise, Ensemble
The film was shot in Hollywood, so it features some quirks in the occasional French dialogue. Notably, near the beginning of the I Got Rhythm number, one of the French children says Jerry, parle anglais à nous, which sounds rather curious, containing mistakes both in direct object placement and in respectful address. In the French soundtrack, which switches to the original sound for the duration of the songs, the à nous is masked through a plop sound, to make the sentence more palatable.
Hollywood films set in France seldom used location shooting or native speakers. However, great care was sometimes put into reproducing Paris surroundings, as in An American in Paris or Irma La Douce. Many French Paris-set movies of this era avoided location work too, and sometimes the same art directors (Alexandre Trauner being the best known example) worked on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Awards and honors 
Academy Awards 
- Academy Award for Best Picture: Arthur Freed, producer
- Academy Award for Best Art – Set Decoration, Color: E. Preston Ames, Cedric Gibbons, F. Keogh Gleason, and Edwin B. Willis
- Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Color: John Alton and Alfred Gilks
- Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Color: Orry-Kelly, Walter Plunkett, and Irene Sharaff
- Academy Award for Best Musical Score: Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green
- Academy Award for Best Writing, Scoring and Screenplay: Alan Jay Lerner
- Academy Award for Best Director: Vincente Minnelli
- Academy Award for Best Film Editing: Adrienne Fazan
Golden Globes 
- Golden Globe Award for Best Director – Motion Picture: Vincente Minnelli
- Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy: Gene Kelly
Kelly received an Academy Honorary Award that year for "his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film." It was his only Oscar.
In 1993, An American in Paris was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
American Film Institute recognition
- 1998: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies – #68
- 2002: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions – #39
- 2004: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs – #32
- 2006: AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals – #9
AFI also honored star Kelly as #15 of the top 25 American male screen legends.
Stage adaptation 
A stage version of the musical was adapted by Ken Ludwig, and began previews at the Alley Theatre (Houston) on April 29, 2008, officially opening on May 18 and running through June 22. The production, directed by Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd with choreography by Randy Skinner, stars Harry Groener and Kerry O'Malley. The musical has many of the film's original songs, and also incorporates other Gershwin songs, such as "They All Laughed", "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off", and "Love Walked In".
- Box Office Information for An American in Paris. The Numbers. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
- "Festival de Cannes: An American in Paris". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2011 October 08.
- "The Gershwins' An American in Paris Again Extends Houston Run". playbill.com. 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-10-08.
- "The Gershwins' An American in Paris: 2007-2008 Season". Alley Theatre. Retrieved 2011 October 08.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: An American in Paris (film)|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: An American in Paris (film)|
- An American in Paris at the Internet Movie Database
- An American in Paris (film) at the TCM Movie Database
- An American in Paris (film) at AllRovi
- An American in Paris (film) at Rotten Tomatoes
- Filmsite.org's Greatest Films An American in Paris
- Combustible Celluloid's review of An American in Paris