Gigi

Vincente Minnelli, USA, 1958, 116 minutes

Gigi was unfortunately the last of the great MGM musicals, but what a way to end a genre already filled with classics! Based on the novel by Colette, Gigi tells the story of a young girl (Leslie Caron) who is reared by her grandmother and great aunt to follow family tradition by becoming a courtesan. The family is scandalised, however, when the handsome and eligible Gaston Lachaille (Louis Jordan) proposes marriage to her.

Despite the delightful performances of Caron and Jordan, the film is almost stolen by Hermione Gingold and Maurice Chevalier, who perform the classic and touching "I remember it well" - just one musical highlight in a film containing many.

Gigi is a stylish triumph from start to finish, magnificently photographed in Metrocolor and CinemaScope by Joseph Ruttenberg to highlight the sumptuous costumes and sets. But the real praise deserves to go to the team of director Vincente Minelli and producer Arthur Freed. Sustaining the brilliance of their earlier musicals, like Meet Me in St Louis and An American in Paris, Gigi once again displays brilliant use of colour and rare ability to portray a romance simply and delightfully without becoming bogged down in schmaltz. The film deservedly won eight Oscars, includ Best Picture, Direction, Screenplay~ and Score.

Review by Kathryn Parkerson
Taken from EUFS Programme 1992-93