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
While most of the shoot went smoothly, there were a few difficulties, beginning with the trouble associated with shooting on location. According to Leslie Caron, "The hazards of weather, traffic, sound pollution, and television antennas, added to the difficulty of obtaining police permits, were nearly insurmountable...the scenes in the Bois de Boulogne were hellishly difficult to film; there was so much traffic - carriages, promenading crowds, everything coming and going in complex motion. We had to repeat the shots many, many times." See more »
The café where Honore (Maurice Chevalier) sings "I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore" is clearly a studio set. As he leaves the café at the conclusion of the number, a horse and carriage pull up on the street in the background, and their shadows are seen on the painted backdrop of the buildings at the back of the set. 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 »
Although MGM and other studios would continue in the genre for several more years, GIGI is the last great musical of Hollywood's golden age. It is also one of the few titles consistently mentioned when critics dispute which film should be considered the single finest musical ever created by Hollywood, a film that rivals the likes of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS.
Based on a novella by Colette, GIGI tells the story of a French family of the belle epoch--a family, it seems, of women who have made their living from the favors of famous men. Still something of a gawky schoolgirl, Gigi (Leslie Caron) is being trained to become a courtesan, and when she suddenly blossoms she captures the heart of Paris sophisticate Gaston Lachaille (Louis Jourdan.) But much to her family's horror, when the arrangements are completed Gigi suddenly declines! The cast is absolutely flawless. Caron was born to play Gigi, and is as charming as the awkward youth as she is as the suddenly beautiful young woman; Jordan's appeal as the worldly and world weary Gaston is tremendous. But the real joy of the cast is in its supporting cast, which includes Maurice Chevalier as Gaston's uncle; Hermione Gingold and Isabel Jeans as Gigi's grandmother and great aunt; and Eva Gabor as Gaston's current mistress. Chevalier and Gingold play their roles with precisely the right mixture of charm and severity, and their duet "I Remember It Well" is among the highlights of the film, while Jeans and Gabor give such great comic turns that their small roles become as memorable as the leads.
The Learner & Lowe score is equal their great Broadway success MY FAIR LADY, and offers such enjoyable and memorable songs as "Gigi" and "The Night They Invented Champagne;" the script equals and merges with the music to considerable effect. Filmed largely on location in Paris, the look of the film is incredibly rich, and director Vincent Minnelli maintains a sprightly sense of humor with just enough darkness behind the bubbles to make us aware of the seriousness of the tale. Mixing intimacy with tremendous surface splash, GIGI is a cultural treasure, a film to enjoy and cherish forever and certainly a worthy contender for that disputed title of "Hollywood's finest musical." A personal favorite and highly, highly recommended.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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