Time: 113 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Score, Screenplay and Best Picture. Nominated for Best Director and Film Editing.
SYNOPSIS: Jerry (Kelly) is an American artist, struggling in Paris, until he finds a wealthy patroness. All is fun and games until he meets Lise (Caron) and naturally falls instantly in love. He then chases her, trying to "win" her away from her clueless fiancé, much to the dismay of his friends, as well as Lise who finds she just can't resist him.
BOTTOM LINE: This was one of those classic musicals I had seen parts of, but was never compelled to watch from beginning to end. After seeing this, Gene Kelly is now my new favorite song and dance man. Astaire may be more inventive, but Kelly has charm for days and he just oozes sex appeal from beginning to end. His muscular body doesn't hurt the eyes either, which he shows off to my great admiration in this lovely trifle. However, the only reason I can think of for this film to win the Oscar for Best Picture is the final dance sequence. It's truly mesmerizing. The editing, art direction and choreography unlike anything I have ever seen. It was ahead of its time and is still breathtaking today.
Unfortunately, the rest of the flick is pretty average. Kelly pulls out all the stops as the lovesick artist trying to find fame and get the girl. It's too bad Caron is not up to the task. I just don't get her appeal. She's lovely to look at, but there doesn't seem to be much going on behind that pretty face and she doesn't really give him anything to work with except the "air of mystery." I guess the fact that she could dance and sing, helped make her popular at the time.
Oscar Levant is a recent discovery to me and a real asset to this picture. His musical talent and wry humor help fill in the gaps between musical numbers wonderfully. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better second fiddle. The staging and costumes garnered many awards for a reason. While you don't exactly feel like you're in Paris, they give the look a magical feel that is still transportive. This film has more singing and dancing than plot, so if you're not a fan of the genre, I wouldn't bother. However, if you are, Kelly and his fancy footwork, especially in the dream sequence, will take your breath away.