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An American in Paris

Gene Kelly stars in this celebrated 1951 musical, directed by Vincente Minnelli, as American expatriate Jerry Mulligan, a former G.I. who has decided to live in France and pursue a less-than-lucrative career as a starving artist. But the fun-loving Bohemian soon finds himself torn between two women — a wealthy American (Nina Foch) who is willing to sponsor his art, and a young Parisenne (Leslie Caron), whom he finds irresistible. But for all of its strengths, the weakest part of An American in Paris is the plot, scripted by Alan Jay Lerner, which is drawn from the most threadbare of cloth and tends to drag in comparison to the film's energetic performances. Give this one a spin just to enjoy the superb Kelly in top form, as well as Caron (in her first movie), and cynical pianist Oscar Levant, who manages to get in some funny lines and even better musical numbers. The "American in Paris Ballet," an extended musical number that concludes the film, looks great and is justly famous. Many popular George and Ira Gershwin songs are showcased, including "You Were Meant For Me," "I Got Rhythm," "S'Wonderful," "Stairway To Paradise," and "By Strauss." Also starring French singer Georges Guétary. Good transfer, although the Technicolor source print, which looks a little faded and has some flecking, is a disappointment compared to some other color films on DVD from this period (such as 1954's Singin' in the Rain). Presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio, with Dolby 2.0. Also includes the original theatrical trailer.
—Robert Wederquist

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