Starring: Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold
Director: Vincente Minelli
Gigi (Caron) is a pretty young girl who is raised by her Grandmother and Great Aunt to be a flirt and a courtesan in Paris at the turn of the last century. Though trained to be a coquette, she’s not all that interested in love, until she catches the eye of her old friend (Jourdan), a local wealthy playboy. Then they both feel confused about their friendship, or whether they want it to be more, whilst their social circle, and families all have their own opinions.
It’s A Must See Because: it’s a film that bursts off the screen, winning 9 Oscars, beating Gone With The Wind‘s record. As a musical, it has wit and humour, the songs being very catchy. But the locations are so beautiful and lavish, and the costumes, designed by Cecil Beaton, are divine. It’s a beautiful film.
I also liked that, like many musicals, it has a dark side. Whilst ultimately it’s a romance about a bachelor and a young girl, she has been raised to entrap men, and live as their mistress, and not to hope for more. Love is not part of the equation, exactly. And her lover holds all the cards, he can decide how much she’s worth and the negotiations between him and her guardians are of the most mercantile nature. But bleak really, but all’s well that ends well.
See It If: you love the 50’s vision of France, musicals and romance. An entertaining and lavish film.