Weary of the conventions of Parisian society, a rich playboy and a youthful courtesan-in-training enjoy a platonic friendship, but it may not stay platonic for long. Gaston, the scion of a wealthy Parisian family finds emotional refuge from the superficial lifestyle of upper class Parisian 1900s society with the former mistress of his uncle and her outgoing, tomboy granddaughter, Gigi. When Gaston becomes aware that Gigi has matured into a woman, her grandmother and aunt, who have educated Gigi to be a wealthy man's mistress, urge the pair to act out their roles but love adds a surprise twist to this delightful turn-of-the 20th century Cinderella story. Written by
As he often did with his films, Vincente Minnelli looked toward the art world for inspiration on how each scene should look. He found inspiration in the work of French caricaturist Sem, whose sketches had been admired by Colette herself when she was writing the original characters in Gigi. For the opening sequence in the Bois du Boulogne he looked to the work of artist Constantin Guys. Boudin's work served as the inspiration for the beach sequences in Gigi. In addition, Minnelli also threw in some Art Nouveau to represent the character of Honoré Lachailles. Minelli recalled, "Our reasoning for using the influence in the settings was to show how avant garde Chevalier's character would be, using the brand-new style in his bachelor digs." See more »
As Gigi enters Maxim's, the patrons are all mouthing the lyrics to a song that is not heard (due to editing changes). See more »
[Honore walks through Paris and greets the viewer]
Good afternoon! As you see, this lovely city all around us is Paris, and this lovely park is of course the Bois de Boulogne. Who am I? Well, allow me to introduce myself: I am Honore Lachaille. Born: Paris. When...
...not lately. This is 1900, so let's just say not in this century. Circumstances: comfortable. Profession: lover, and collector of beautiful things. Not antiques mind you, younger things.
[...] See more »
Having seen this film several times, I definitely have to rate Gigi as one of the most charming musicals ever made. The delightful score, by Lerner & Loewe, includes songs such as "I Remember it Well," "The Night They Invented Champagne," "Thank Heaven For Little Girls," as well as the title track, "Gigi," sung with surprising candor and earnestness by Louis Jourdan. Although reminiscent of their work on My Fair Lady, this score not only stands beautifully on its own but also grows in depth with each viewing.
The three principals, Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, and Maurice Chevalier, along with the Paris locales helps maintain a distinctively French flavor, especially in the way the characters relate and interact.
For everyone who has commented on the political incorrectness of the story, a closer look will actually reveal the true feminist perspective of Colette's work which was groundbreaking for its time: 1) the story is a commentary and observation of the limited social and economic options for women outside of marriage during the turn of the century Paris, 2) Although Gigi (Caron) never fully masters her lessons and grooming, she is able to capture Gaston's (Jourdan) heart precisely because of her imperfections, and 3) most importantly, it is Gaston rather than Gigi who is forced to truly transform himself and defy the social conventions of the time to bring the story to its resolution.
Compare this to My Fair Lady, which offers similar social commentary but resolves itself in a more standard way: For example 1) Eliza Dolittle only becomes noticeable and lovable after transforming her outward appearance and speech patterns 2) Although Professor Higgins finally realizes his love for Eliza at the end, it is Eliza who is forced to submit her will by effecting a reconciliation that does nothing to resolve any of the issues raised in the scenes leading up to that point.
Definitely see Gigi and judge for yourself. (By the way, the widescreen version is sooooo much better. This is especially apparent in numbers such as "I Remember It Well" where entire characters are forced to be cut out of the screen.)
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