"Finding Beauty and Love in Paris”"
What You Need To Know:
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS has breathtaking dance scenes showcasing Gene Kelly’s iconic dance moves, Leslie Caron’s French-American beauty, and the wonderful musical stylings of Oscar Levant’s piano playing and Georges Guétray’s sultry voice. Brilliantly directed by Vincente Minnelli, the movie features fabulous music by George Gershwin. It also includes an elaborate dance sequence filled with fun allusions to famous impressionist paintings. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS has a light Romantic worldview where romantic love and personal artistic expression are extolled without reference to God. However, it also contains some moral elements that enhance the entertainment value.
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is a classic 1951 musical movie from Arthur Freed’s great production team at MGM, which captures almost every single aspect of a beautifully pr oduced musical. The movie is about an American veteran who decides to live in Paris after the war to develop his skills as a painter. He lives in an apartment with a nervous American concert pianist. Both men are friends with a successful French nightclub singer. When a wealthy woman offers to pay for his paintings, this war veteran is in for the ride of a lifetime.
Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) has decided to stay in Paris after World War II. He’s a starving painter who’s loved by the community but not by his wallet. One day, as Jerry goes out to paint, a wealthy woman eyes his paintings. The woman, Milo Roberts, offers to pay a large sum for his works in exchange for a possible exhibition. Jerry quickly picks up that Milo has a crush on him and may only be supporting his work because she fancies him. Meanwhile, Jerry’s friends are worried that Milo is being possessive of Jerry. So they throw him a series of parties, but not one girl interests him.
Milo invites Jerry over alone to her lavish apartment, where Jerry begins to feel uncomfortable and suggests that they go have dinner in the café downstairs. When the two are seated, Jerry spots Lisa and is in love with her at first sight. Jerry pretends to know her, and the two start a love affair after Jerry pursues her. Unknown to Jerry, Lisa is dating Henri, the professional French singer who’s friends with Jerry.
Henri proposes to Lisa after a concert one night, and Lisa accepts. She meets Jerry in their usual spot by the bridge and says she can’t see him anymore. Lisa feels a duty to Henri, because he kept her safe during the war.
Defeated and depressed, Jerry goes to Milo’s and invites her to an artist’s ball. At the ball, everyone is dressed in black and white costumes. As Jerry dances with Milo, he sees Henri and Lisa dancing. He tells Milo he is in love with Lisa and apologizes profusely. Jerry goes out to the terrace, where Lisa tells him she’s off to be married to Henri in the morning. The two say goodbye while Henri secretly watches them embrace. As Jerry ponders his love for Lisa and watches Henri drive away with Lisa, an elaborate dance number occurs showcasing Jerry’s love for her. The dance number is filled with iconic colorful scenes from famous paintings by impressionist painters such as Pierre-August Renoir and Toulouse-Latrec, to the tune of George Gershwin’s magnificent symphony, “An American in Paris.” Is this the end of Lisa and Jerry’s romance?
Brilliantly directed by Vincente Minnelli, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is a beloved American classic. It has breathtaking dance scenes showcasing Gene Kelly’s iconic dance moves, Leslie Caron’s Franco-American beauty, and the wonderful musical stylings of Oscar Levant’s piano playing and Georges Guétray’s sultry voice. The movie features fabulous music by George Gershwin. The scenery, costumes and cinematography are impeccable. They helped earn this movie six Academy Awards, one Golden Globe, and one Writers Guild Award for Best Written Musical.
Overall, however, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS has a light Romantic worldview where romantic love and personal artistic expression are extolled, and God doesn’t enter the picture. The movie doesn’t approach these subjects in a didactic or immoral way that might be offensive to Bible-believing Christians. After all, the beauty that Jerry sees in Lisa and the beauty that Jerry and we see in the impressionist paintings and in Paris, ultimately is founded in God and His Creation. Also, in one of the movie’s most enjoyable and most uplifting scenes, Jerry uses dance to give the local French children in the neighborhood an entertaining English lesson. The scene shows that using your talents to teach and amuse children is a worthy endeavor. So, despite the Romantic worldview in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, it does have some morally redeeming content that adds to the entertainment in the picture. Giving joy to others is a good thing, and this classic movie has certainly been doing that over the years!