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The Vintage Guide To London | February 24, 2018

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Gotta sing! Gotta dance!! Gotta paint!! Watch An American in Paris at the BFI

An American in Paris (1951) features Gene Kelly at his dazzling best as Jerry Mulligan, a former GI whose dreams of becoming a successful artist have led him to the city of light, love and the Impressionists.  Much admired by wealthy patron Miro (Nina Foch), he risks her displeasure when he falls for shopgirl Lise (Leslie Caron), herself betrothed to Henri (Georges Guétary), who’s an old friend of Jerry’s pianist pal Adam (Oscar Levant).

This romantic roundelay is, in the end, simply the framework – albeit a consistently engaging and funny one – for some of the finest musical sequences ever filmed. Most memorable of all is the climactic ballet danced to Gershwin’s titular tone poem on ravishing sets inspired by Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Dufy, Rousseau et al – an eloquent evocation of Jerry’s inner life, superbly shot and choreographed, and as audacious and exhilarating as its equivalent in The Red Shoes. Wonderful!

In selected cinemas now