Saturday, December 11, 2010

TOP 300 MOVIES OF ALL TIME: #277: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951)

Gene Kelly is today best and justly remembered for "Singin In the Rain". Ironically, it was released as Gene Kelly was sweeping awards season with #277, "An American In Paris". It would go on to win the Best Picture Oscar for 1951. 

The story is simple. Gene is a former GI who remained in Paris to ply his trade as an artist. His work is noticed by Nina Foch, who clearly has more than his art in mind. Gene, however is conflicted with the obvious financial rewards of his new patron and his love for Parisian gal, Leslie Caron in her first film.

The real star of the film is the carefully choreographed numbers to classic George Gershwin music, a man whose skills are certainly the equal to the great classical composers. It ends in what is supposed to be a ballet like number. Irving Berlin, was convinced that ending a mainstream musical with a lengthy, but physical ballet was a terrible idea and wished them "good luck". But it paid off due to the diligence and talents of Gene Kelly and Vincente Minnelli.

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