Sunday, December 19, 2010

Battle of The Oscar Stars: Best Picture 1958

Running away for the sheer purpose of singing and bashing about Paris, has never appealed to me more than after watching the Best Picture winner of 1958.

Musicals are not always filmed on location (a MGM stage set did no justice to past winner An American In Paris), but for the sake of Gigi it was able to soak up all the glory the City Of Lights had to offer. The film as a whole is better because of it.

Production numbers take place all over Paris in one fabulous garden after another, where the sun is always shining, everyone twirls around with parasols, and it is believable that riding in a carriage is always accompanied by a catchy melody. I was born to love these unrealistic nature of musicals, and continually wish events like this would actually happen in the periphery of my life.

Focusing around a young girl, Gigi, and her life living with a protective family that only wish her to experience love...I think? There are a few restrictions. I really loved this movie, but the plot gets a little weird when you realize that her Grandmother and Great Aunt just want, well, to pimp her out (it's an old movie, but this is the only way I can explain it), so that Gigi will end up with a guy who can give her lots of jewels and take her on adventures.

Also, marriage is out of the question! But then that guy...okay, watch it and then we can discuss things about this story that slightly confused me. The feminist inside all women will probably be sounding the alarm.

All and all though, a fun, beautiful looking musical, packed full of classic songs that I am now able to identify their origin ("Thank Heaven For Little Girls" most notably).

Leslie Caron, seen here performing my favorite bit of hers, freakishly reminds me of Audrey Hepburn and it couldn't leave my mind the entire time I watched this movie. In a coincidence of sorts, and after scouring IMDB, I uncovered a factoid (film nerds need only continue with this sentence); Gigi was originally a stage musical, where the role of Gigi was played by...wait for it...Audrey. Hepburn. Crazy, right? When Hepburn was unable to reprise her role, I apparently wasn't the only one that saw the similarities in the two.

Caron justly steals this movie, and we all know that Hepburn eventually makes it in the movies, and has her own musical turn in an Oscar winner coming up on the list.

Even with the, at times, weird plot line, this is definitely a must see. Approved!

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