Friday, July 15, 2011

An American in Paris (1951)

A struggling American painter in Paris, is "discovered" by an influential heiress, while falling in love with a young French girl. [imdb]

Nominated for 8 Oscars:

Best Picture (WINNER)
Best Director: Vincente Minnelli
Best Writing, Story and Screenplay (WINNER)
Best Cinematography, Color (WINNER)
Best Music, Musical Picture (WINNER)
Best Editing
Best Art Direction, Color (WINNER)
Best Costume Design, Color (WINNER)

I am continuing my series of trying to watch all Best Picture winners, some for the first time. And that's how I got to winner number 24, An American in Paris, a musical I was never really interested in seeing. My instincts were right: had it not been for my dedication to the blog, I might have not bothered. It's not as bad as I make it sound, and definitely not the worst BP winner, but far from the top of the list.

Its biggest problem is that it has no humor; it also doesn't have any great songs. All that it has is good dancing, and a lot of it. The film is never really bad, just terribly boring until it gets closer to the end: I will admit I thought those 20 minutes of dancing moments were mostly nice. Not all, the one with Lautrec was ridiculous, but some were really ahead of their times and one cannot deny the great camera work. It sure helps the film redeem itself a bit. And Leslie Caron looks like a terrific ballerina; I was impressed. The acting lacks greatness, with Nina Foch being the only intriguing one.

My rating for the film: 5.5/10. I still feel like I'm giving it waaaaay to much. And no, no word on Kelly, we all know he's more of a dancer than an actor. The film certainly DIDN'T deserve the Best Picture win.

***Best Picture winner number 23rd, All About Eve, has been previously discussed: click HERE.


  1. Terrible movie. One of the worst winners ever, and the fact it beat STREETCAR?! C'mon! One holds up after a million viewings, and the other can't hold up through even half of a first viewing.

    Story was thin and boring, dancing was ok, songs were irritating, acting didn't exsist, and my emotional involvement (or any other kind) was zero.

  2. I know. I was way too generous, right?!

  3. You could've said more about Nina Foch, she really is delicious in this, worth the ticket price alone, and the costume and design is top notch, if nothing like post war Paris.

    But I do agree this is a general let down, and difficult to understand the love at the time.

  4. I used to really like this. I just rewatched it a while ago, and it was somewhat boring.

    No actual story. I skipped parts - some of the cringe worthy songs, and half of Oscar Levan't solo concerto.

    Leslie tried to do something, Gene was OK, Georges was all right, Oscar is somewhat annoying, NINA FOCH is terrific.

    The last 20 minutes of the film is not as thrilling as they used to be for me, but still the only highlight of the film.

    I don't know what actually happened, but I felt that it was dreadful and awful. It does not age well.

    Streetcar or Place in the Sun should have won.