Thursday, November 11, 2010

Battle of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1951

After the high drama, you know with a war and all going on, that the films in the 1940's brought to the table it seems like I am now entering into a fun time for the movies (finally!). It may not be the decade of the musical yet, which is still about ten movies away into the 60's, but I was treated to a tiny preview of what is to come. With the Best Picture winner of 1951 I was reminded of the power behind the almighty MGM musical.

Being the musical fan that I am, it is maddening to have to admit that I had no idea what An American In Paris was, let alone that it was a musical starring Gene Kelly. Yes, booing has ensued. The story follows an American painter (played by Kelly) and his friends as they struggle to find themselves and people to appreciate their art in Paris. Musical numbers and dancing set to Gershwin music creates the most memorable moments of a really simple story that is capped off with, of all things to have in a romance, a love triangle!

Without that charming, dreamy, tap-dancing machine Kelly in the lead, I fear that this movie would have instantaneously slipped out of my brain. From the beginning I could tell that the story was not going to suck me in, but I was completely won over early in the movie when Kelly joined a bunch of children in a Paris street (or an MGM studio set...) to sing the classic "I Got Rhythm". After this scene though, even all the incredible ballet dancing from Leslie Caron just couldn't hold my interest.

Maybe I'm just being a curmudgeon (although, I can't really be too curmudgeonly as I was loudly singing along to "Love Story" as I typed that...), but I can't make myself recommend this. I might not be completely off base, as IMDB notes that Premiere magazine included this in their "20 Most Overrated Movies Of All Time" list. Gene Kelly fans should see this, but I bet all of them were not as behind on the times as I was apparently.

Seriously though, this one kind of let me down! I guess you can't love em' all...

Next up: The Greatest Show On Earth (starring big guns Charlton Heston...oh no!)

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