Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
An American in Paris (movie)
An American in Paris is a 1951 musical film based on the classical composition by George Gershwin. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, was set in Paris, and directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner. All of the music in the film is by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. The climax of the film is 18 minutes of dancing featuring Kelly and Caron, set to Gershwin's An American In Paris.
Jerry Mulligan (Kelly) is an American expatriate trying to make a living in Paris as a painter. His friend Adam (Levant) is a struggling pianist who's a long time associate of a famous singer Henri Baurel (Georges Guétary). A lonely society woman (Nina Foch) takes Jerry under her wing only for Jerry to fall for Lise (Leslie Caron), a girl he sees at a party. Lise falls for him as well, but she is already engaged to Henri. The plot is interspersed with show stopping Gershwin tunes with dancing choreographed by Gene Kelly. Songs include "I've Got Rhythm", "S'Wonderful", "Our Love Is Here To Stay", and "Concert in F for Piano and Orchestra".
- Academy Award for Best Picture - Arthur Freed, producer
- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
- Academy Award for Best Art - Set Decoration, Color - E. Preston Ames , Cedric Gibbons , F. Keogh Gleason , and Edwin B. Willis
- Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Color - John Alton and Alfred Gilks
- Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Color - Orry-Kelly , Walter Plunkett, and Irene Sharaff
- Academy Award for Best Musical Score - Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green
- Academy Award for Best Writing, Scoring and Screenplay - Alan Jay Lerner
- Writers Guild of America Award for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen - Alan Jay Lerner
- Academy Award for Best Director - Vincente Minnelli
- Golden Globe Award for Best Director - Motion Picture - Vincente Minnelli
- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actor – Musical or Comedy - Gene Kelly
- Academy Award for Best Film Editing - Adrienne Fazan
Gene Kelly received an honorary Academy Award that year for "his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film." It was his only Oscar.
The film has also been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
The film was shot on Hollywood sets, so it features some quirks in the occasional French dialogue. Notably, near the beginning of the I got rhythm number, one of the "French" kids says Jerry, parle anglais à nous, which sounds rather curious. In the French soundtrack, which switches to the original sound for the duration of the songs, the à nous is masked thru a plop sound, to make the sentence more palatable.
Hollywood movies referencing France seldom use location shooting or native speakers. Great care is however sometimes put into reproducing Paris surroundings, like in this American in Paris or in Irma La Douce. Ironically, a lot of older French Paris-based movies were studio work as well and the same art directors (eg. Alexandre Trauner ) were sometimes working on both sides of the ocean...
Oscar Levant, who plays Adam Cook. was one of George Gershwin's closest friends in real life.
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