After the end of World War II, Jerry Mulligan leaves America for Paris. He spends his days with the pianist Adam and the singer Henri, hoping to find fame as a painter in Montmartre. One day he secures the patronage of a rich lady, who is more interested in him than his paintings, but then he meets Lise, a young French girl, and soon falls in love with her. But Lise has promised to marry Henri, who saved her during the war… Against an extremely accurate reconstruction of Paris, lit by unrealistically glitzy colours, Gene Kelly’s energy is paired with the grace of Leslie Caron, a young dancer not yet twenty years old, making her dazzling film debut. Accompanied by Gershwin’s music, written in 1928, Minnelli made this one of the most famous and best-loved musicals in cinema history. –Locarno Film Festival
Vincente Minnelli (February 28, 1903 – July 25, 1986) was a Hollywood director and stage director. His skilled integration of story, music, lighting, and design elements in a film made him the most critically respected crafter of American film musicals. With first wife Judy Garland, he was the father of Liza Minnelli.
Born Lester Anthony Minnelli in Chicago, Illinois, United States, Minnelli was the youngest surviving child of Mina Mary LaLouette Le Beau and Vincent Charles Minnelli. His father was musical conductor of Minnelli Brothers’ Tent Theater. Minnelli’s Chicago-born mother was of French Canadian descent and his paternal grandfather was from Sicily.
With his background in theatre, Minnelli was known as an auteur who always brought his stage experience to his films. The first movie that he directed, Cabin in the Sky (1943), was visibly influenced by the theater. Shortly after that, he directed Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), during which he befriended the film’s star… read more
If you come to "An American in Paris" looking for a strong narrative, you're bound to walk away disappointed. Gene Kelly, as talented and handsome as he is, plays an insufferable cad here. The reason this film endures is the peerless technical direction from Vincente Minnelli, which puts the glory of Technicolor on full display. The wordless 16 minute ballet sequence that closes the film is the real showstopper, although I have to confess my favorite bit is Leslie Caron's multi-colored introduction, which Gene Kelly actually directed himself and remains astonishingly sexy. The truth? In all the ways that count, this film - made in 1951! - is more formally daring and experimental than most of what Hollywood produces today.
Yes it isn't better than Singin in the Rain, it uses old Gershwin songs, and the ballet was inspired by The Red Shoes....but it's still one of the best musicals ever made and one of Minnelli's finest films. Bright and colorful Technicolor and s'wonderful musical numbers are the highlights.
Some charming moments, but the plot is lacking. Yeah, I know this is a musical, so the plot wouldn't be a problem with a believable, passionate love story. Instead, we get a cheesy one without much chemistry or motivation, that happens and grows just because it's a requirement for the musical numbers. A bunch of inspired, visually ambitious (and sometimes random) scenes don't make a great movie, though.