Gigi (1958)

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Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Written by Allen J. Lerner based on a novella by Colette
1958/USA
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
#344 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Aunt Alicia: Marriage is not forbidden to us, but instead of getting married at once, it sometimes happens we get married at last.

This movie makes me feel happy and I love it unapologetically.

Gigi (Leslie Caron) is a rambunctious young girl who is being trained by her aunt and grandmother (Hermoine Gingold) to carry on in the family tradition.  Unfortunately for Gigi, this is to become a courtesan to the rich and famous.  But Gigi is a very backward student.

Gastone (Louis Jourdan) is just the sort of man that Gigi is being groomed for.  His uncle Honoré is that sort of man personified.  Gastone is bored to tears by the life of a bon vivant, however.  He gravitates to the simple life of Gigi’s grandmother’s household and to the fun offered by young Gigi.

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The day comes when Gigi begins to look the part her family has envisioned for her.  By that time, Gigi is already a woman who knows exactly what she wants for her self.

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I can’t remember when I first saw this but it was when everything about it seemed innocent, romantic, and funny.   Those are the eyes with which I still see it.  To me it is a cinderella story in which virtue triumphs in the end.  It helps that the production is lavish and gorgeous and the songs are memorable.  I can’t imagine anyone else in any of the parts.

The Blu-Ray DVD contains a commentary by film historian Jeanine Basinger who talks about the movie with obvious affection.  She has done the commentaries on several classic “women’s” pictures and is becoming one of my favorites.

Gigi won 9 Academy Awards in all – every award for which it was nominated – in the categories of: Best Picture; Best Director; Best Writing – Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium; Best Cinematography, Color; Best Art Direction – Set Decoration; Best Costume Design; Best Film Editing; Best Original Song (“Gigi”); and Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture.  Maurice Chevalier won an honorary Oscar “for his contributions to the world of entertainment for over half a century”.

Trailer

4 thoughts on “Gigi (1958)

  1. What is not to love about GIGI? Now I know what to watch to boost my serotonin. Thank you Bea! I vividly remember my first viewing — on the big screen, in a summer reveal series, at a neighborhood theater, with my mother. I suspect she said something like — “You’re going to like this movie.” She was so wise. I am ordering the restored DVD and know I will enjoy the commentary. PS — A few years ago, while meandering through Paris side streets with my daughter, my eye turned toward an elegant, mature women, walking passed us. “Heads up. It’s Leslie Caron!” Up close and personal and beautiful.

    • How thrilling to see Leslie Caron in person! I think she aged extremely well and was a very good actress to boot. Have you seen the L-Shaped Room? I loved her in that one.

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