An American in Paris (1951)

an american in paris poster 1951 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

A classic with memorable dance numbers

Not very story driven

Movie Info

Movie Name:  An American in Paris

Studio:  MGM

Genre(s):  Musical/Romance

Release Date(s):  November 11, 1951

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

american in paris who could ask for anything more gene kelly

Paris…je t’aime!

Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) is a former G.I. who decided to stay in Paris after the war to pursue his dream of art.  He is friends with piano player Adam Cook (Oscar Levant) who hopes to make it big.  When Jerry is “discovered” by a rich woman named Milo Roberts (Nina Foch) who wants to make Jerry the next toast of Paris, Jerry finds himself conflicted when he falls for a shop girl named Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron) who seems to say one thing about her feelings for Jerry but acts another way.  Jerry must decide between success and woman who keeps pushing him away.

Directed by Vincente Minnelli, An American in Paris is a musical-dance romance.  It takes its inspiration from George Gershwin’s 1928 piece “An American in Paris”.  The film was critically acclaimed and won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Art-Set Decoration—Color, Best Costume Design—Color, Best Score, and Best Original Screenplay with nominations for Best Director and Best Film Editing.  The film was selected by the Library of Congress in the National Film Registry in 1993.  It was turned into a stage musical in 2014.

american in paris ballet ending gene kelly leslie caron

Dang…we dance right into the fountain!

I’m not a huge dance fan.  The movie however is one of the great dancing films and contains one of the great dance sequences in the finale.  I can respect the picture for its art and style though An American in Paris isn’t one of my favorite Best Picture choices.

This is purely personal because the movie looks great.  The dancing sequences and the look and style of the film are far above many musicals of the time.  It does a far better job blending the location shoots with the studio shoots and looks less like a studio film.  The colors really pop and the choreography and music boom…it is a shining example of the genre.

Kelly is also at his best.  He moves and glides across the screen and his dances with Leslie Caron are great.  Caron is nice as his “true” love interest but I like Milo Roberts as the woman who wants to shape his career.  The movie’s core is the dynamics between these characters.

american in paris rose gene kelly final ballet

A rose by any other name…

That’s why I have a problem getting into the movie.  I feel the story is pretty flimsy.  Though I like dynamics of the triangle (which becomes a square when Henri (George Guetary) is added.  I don’t think the movie develops either Henri or the Adam characters enough, and the movie should either have cut their scenes or spent more time developing them and their storylines.

An American in Paris is the Hollywood musical at the peak of Hollywood films.  The movie is good and fans of dance and classic Hollywood should see it.  If you are a casual fan of musicals, this movie isn’t as easy to take in as more structured musicals.  Paris is a place of love and dance and An American in Paris makes the most of it.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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