Posts Tagged ‘nina foch’

Gene Kelly is Jerry Mulligan, a former GI, who has decided to stay on in Paris after World War II.  He spends his days painting and trying to sell his pictures, but is constantly short of money and only just ekes out a living.  When a rich heiress, Milo Roberts (Nina Foch) sees him and decides to sponsor him, it becomes apparent that she is interested in more than just his art….but meanwhile Jerry has fallen in love with French girl Lise (Leslie Caron); however Lise has a secret that she is hiding from Jerry.

After watching and loving Singin’ In The Rain, I was eager to see more of Gene Kelly’s dancing, and this film fit the bill.  There is a more subtle note to the dancing in this film (except for the last 20 minutes) and less of the showier numbers that appeared in Singin’ In The Rain.  Nonetheless, Kelly’s dancing is still a real joy to watch, and I enjoyed the musical numbers.

Nina Foch was terrific and beautiful as Milo, and Oscar Levant as Jerry’s best friend Adam Cook – a fantastic pianist with a sarcastic sense of humour – also had some great moments.  However, Leslie Caron was less convincing – while she could certainly dance well, her acting was pretty shaky in parts.  To be fair however, it was her debut film performance, and she was not the first choice for the film; originally Cyd Charisse was supposed to play Lise, but had to turn the role down when she discovered she was pregnant (I would have loved to have seen Charisse in the part).

Towards the end of the film, there is a huge, lavish, extravagant and colourful dance number which goes on for about 16 minutes.  I’ve read mixed reviews about this; some people think it serves no real purpose other than to show off the dancing itself.  That may well be true; however, at the time it was probably a brave and unusual thing to do – there is actually no dialogue in the last 20 or so minutes of the film – and I really liked the dance number, which even had it’s own mention in the opening credits, and was called The American In Paris Ballet (although there is also some fabulous tap dancing in it).

Definitely another feel good movie – and certainly one I’d recommend!

Year of release: 1951

Director: Vincente Minnelli

Writer: Alan Jay Lerner

Main cast: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Nina Foch, Oscar Levant

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