Director: Vincente Minnelli
Original Release: 1951
Choice: Our Girl's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The story is inspired by the music of George Gershwin, particularly his great orchestral composition of the same name. Jerry Mulligan (Kelly) is an ex-GI who stayed on in Paris after the war to pursue an art career. He's got woman troubles. Heiress Milo Roberts (Nina Foch) is an enthusiastic champion of his work but is clearly interested in more than just his brushstrokes. The object of his own pursuit is Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron). Alas, Lise is involved with another man, eventually revealed to be Henri Baurel (Georges Guétary), a successful singer and a friend of Mulligan's. Meanwhile, mutual pal Adam Cook (Oscar Levant) mopes as he burns his way up and down the keyboard.
The love story's cute enough, but not the main selling point for the film. That said, one refreshing difference with An American in Paris is that the romantic rivals, Milo and Henri, are both appealing and sympathetic. They deserve happiness as much as the two leads do and one hopes in the end that they might find each other.
The strengths of the film are aesthetic - visually stunning, snatching up Oscars for art, cinematography and costumes. Colors are vibrant and meaningfully implemented. The music, of course, is top notch with the three men all applying considerable talent to the Gershwin classics. Kelly choreographed the dancing, the highlight of which is a 16-minute ballet in the movie's final act. Unlike Debbie Reynolds in Singin' in the Rain, Caron is perfectly capable of holding her own with Kelly on the dance floor.