Gigi

Gigi
Musical, Romance, Comedy
1958

Director: Vincente Minnelli Cast: Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold, Eva Garbor, Jacques Bergerac, Isabel Jeans, John Abbott

Academy Awards: Best Picture; Best Director (Vincente Minnelli); Best Adapted Screenplay (Alan Jay Lerner); Best Cinematography, Colour; Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White or Colour; Best Costume Design, Black-and-White or Colour; Best Film Editing; Best Original Song (Frederick Loewe & Alan Jay Lerner for “Gigi”); Best Scoring of a Motion Picture (André Previn)

I First Saw In: c. 2011

Synopsis: Weary of the conventions of Parisian society, a rich playboy and a youthful courtesan-in-training enjoy a platonic friendship, but it may not stay platonic for long.

Did You Know? Upon winning all 9 Oscars it was nominated for, all telephone operators at M.G.M. were instructed to answer phone calls with, “Hello, M-Gigi-M.”

Quotables: AUNT ALICIA: Liane d’Exelmars has committed suicide… again!

And now a Word from the Guise:
It does not bode well that this romantic comedy opens with a pedophile singing about his love for little girls. It’s the creepiest song in any musical, and most unsettling because it is not meant to be creepy. It’s meant to be sweet and endearing, but it is neither of those things.

It really bothers me that Leslie Caron was a decade older than she was supposed to be. Gigi is supposed to be 15-16, but Caron was 26 at the time of filming. It’s the same problem that plagued The Diary of Anne Frank the following year. When casting for an adolescent or young adult, you should stay within 5 years of the character’s age. Beyond that it becomes disturbing, because the actor always seems to have forgotten what it was like to be a teenager, and portrays their character like a 10-year-old. What’s even more disturbing is that Gaston Lachaille treats Gigi like his daughter, and then falls in love with her. He even sings a creepy song, at odds with himself on whether he wants to court her or take out for ice cream. Eventually, he disregards her adolescence and decides to pursue her. It’s repulsive.

At least the costumes and set decoration are lavish and beautiful. And at least Aunt Alicia and Madame Alvarez, played by Isabel Jeans and Hermione Gingold respectively, are enjoyable characters.

Oscar Madness Ranking – ??? out of 233