"Gigi" Is Released
Gigi is a 1958 American musical film directed by Vincente Minnelli.
The screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner is based on the 1944 novella of the same name by Colette. The film features songs with lyrics by Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe.
In 1991, Gigi was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." The American Film Institute ranked it #35 in AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions. The film is considered the last great MGM musical and the final great achievement of the Freed Unit, headed by producer Arthur Freed, although he would go on to produce several more films, including the musical Bells Are Ringing in 1960. The film was the basis for an unsuccessful stage musical produced on Broadway in 1973.
Leslie Caron plays Gigi, a young girl raised by two veteran Parisian courtesans (Hermione Gingold and Isabel Jeans) to be the mistress of wealthy young Gaston (Louis Jourdan). When Gaston falls in love with Gigi and asks her to be his wife, Jeans is appalled: never has anyone in their family ever stooped to anything so bourgeois as marriage! Weaving in and out of the story is Maurice Chevalier as an aging boulevardier who, years earlier, had been in love with Gingold's character. Chevalier gets most of the best Lerner & Loewe tunes, including Thank Heaven for Little Girls, I'm Glad I'm Not Young Any More, and his matchless duet with Gingold, I Remember it Well. Caron's best number (dubbed by Betty Wand) is The Night They Invented Champagne while Jourdan gets the honor of introducing the title song. Filmed on location in Paris, Gigi won several Oscars, including Best Picture; it also represented the successful American movie comeback of Chevalier, who thanks to this film was "forgiven" for his reputed collaboration with the Nazis during World War II. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide