1951 – An American in Paris

We have finally made the transition to color film!  Besides Gone with the Wind, An American in Paris is the first color film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) is an American painter who moves to Paris to live the romantic life of a European artist.  He is broke, of course.  He falls in love with a Parisian dancer (Leslie Caron, who gave an less than impressive performance), who is engaged to another man, who befriends Jerry, who eventually puts the pieces together and gives up the girl, only to get her back in the end.  The girl always has to be hard to get so Kelly can exercise his charm to win her.

Gene Kelly is incredibly talented.  He can sing, he can dance, he can act… but I wish he would limit his multi-talent show to appropriate moments in his films.  An American in Paris ended in a bizarre thought montage in which he taps and ballet dances with all sorts of people in all sorts of scenes that have nothing to do with the rest of the film and add nothing to the plot… except to confirm that Gene Kelly is a talented dancer and choreographer.

As you may have guessed, I’m not a huge fan of musicals.  This has the potential to color my critiques of several movies coming up in the 1960s, so be forewarned.

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