Best Picture Collection: Musicals (An American in Paris/Gigi/My Fair Lady)
DVD | Box Set
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
An American in Paris
A GI (Gene Kelly) stays in Paris after the war to become an artist and has to choose between the patronage of a rich American woman (Nina Foch) and a French gamine (Leslie Caron) engaged to an older man. The plot is mostly an excuse for director Vincente Minnelli to pool his own extraordinary talent with those of choreographer-dancer-actor Kelly and the artists behind the screenplay, art direction, cinematography, and score, creating a rapturous musical not quite like anything else in cinema. The final section of the film comprises a 17-minute dance sequence that took a month to film and is breathtaking. Songs include "'S Wonderful," "I Got Rhythm," and "Love Is Here to Stay."
Vincente Minnelli's 1958 adaptation of Colette's story about a girl (Leslie Caron) groomed as a courtesan--but desired as a wife by a Parisian playboy (Louis Jordan)--won a lot of Oscars®, but it also has the unusual distinction of being an MGM musical shot on location in the City of Lights. What a musical it is (by Lerner and Loewe): Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold crooning "Ah, Yes, I Remember It Well," plus the songs "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," "Gigi," "I'm a Bore," and "She's Not Thinking of Me." Director Minnelli makes a sumptuous, dreamy, almost laid-back affair of it all, and the indispensable cast is forever etched into memory. Hollywood's long-running infatuation with Continental grace and manners, the memory of a much earlier time imported to American movies through such immigrant directors as Ernst Lubitsch, may have finally come to a gentle end with this film.
My Fair Lady
Hollywood's legendary "woman's director," George Cukor, transformed Audrey Hepburn into street-urchin-turned-proper-lady Eliza Doolittle in this film version of the Lerner and Loewe musical. Based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, My Fair Lady stars Rex Harrison as linguist Henry Higgins (Harrison also played the role, opposite Julie Andrews, on stage), who draws Eliza into a social experiment that works almost too well. The letterbox edition of this film on video certainly pays tribute to the pageantry of Cukor's set, but it also underscores a certain visual stiffness that can slow viewer enthusiasm just a tad. But it's really star wattage that keeps this film exciting, that and such great songs as "On the Street Where You Live" and "I Could Have Danced All Night." Actor Jeremy Brett, who gained a huge following later in life portraying Sherlock Holmes, is quite electric as Eliza's determined suitor. --Tom Keogh
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
An American in Paris
This is a 1951 musical inspired by George Gershwin's 1928 orchestral composition of the same name. Gene Kelly stars as Jerry Mulligan, an American GI who decides to stay in Paris after World War II, as he wishes to become an artist. He must choose between the patronage of Milo Roberts, a rich American woman (Nina Foch), or the love of perfume shop clerk Lise Bouvier, a French gamine (Leslie Caron, in her film debut) who is engaged to an older man. Oscar Levant co-stars as Adam Cook, Kelly's best friend. The picture was directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by his brother Ira, and additional music by Saul Chaplin, the music director. It features "S' Wonderful," "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise," "I Got Rhythm," and "Love Is Here to Stay," with intermittent dance sequences choreographed by Kelly. It culminates in "The American in Paris" ballet, a 16 minute routine featuring Kelly and Caron, set to Gershwin's "An American in Paris," which cost more than $500,000 to film. The film took six Academy Awards on eight nominations. Including: Best Picture: Arthur Freed, producer. Best Writing, Scoring and Screenplay: Alan Jay Lerner. Best Art-Set Decoration: Cedric Gibbons. Best Musical Score: Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green. Best Costume Design, Irene Sharaff. Minelli was nominated for Best Director but left empty-handed.
Vincente Minnelli's 1958 adaptation of Colette's 1944 novella is about a girl Gilberte, (Gigi), played by Leslie Caron, who has been groomed by her demi-monde family to be a courtesan. But, instead, Gaston Lachaille, wealthy Parisian playboy brought to life by handsome French matinée idol of the time, Louis Jordan, prefers to marry her. It memorably featured the first French matinee idol, Maurice Chevalier as Honoré Lachaille, Gaston's uncle; Hermione Gingold as Madame Alvarez, Gigi's Great Aunt; Isabel Jeans as Aunt Alicia; Eva Gabor as Liane d'Exelmans and another earlier French matinee idol Jacques Bergerac, somewhat older than Jordan, as Sandomir.
It was, unusually enough for MGM, actually shot on location in Paris, and it won them many Oscars®. Music is by Lerner and Loewe: it includes Chevalier and Gingold crooning "Ah, Yes, I Remember It Well," plus Chevalier's immortal "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," "Gigi," "I'm a Bore," and "She's Not Thinking of Me." This film is widely considered the last great MGM musical and the last great achievement of its producer Arthur Freed. Many think that Hollywood's long-running admiration for European grace and manners, memory of an earlier time that was brought to the filmmaking capital by such immigrant directors as Ernst Lubitsch, received its swan song with this production. The movie won a record-breaking nine 1959 Academy Awards. They included: Best Picture: Arthur Freed, producer. Best Director: Vincente Minnelli. Best Adapted Screenplay: Alan Jay Lerner. Best Costume Design: Cecil Beaton. Best Original Score: André Previn. Best Original Song: "Gigi" by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe.
This is my all-time favorite musical, and I consider the purchase of this compendium worthwhile for Chevalier's incandescent "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" alone.
My Fair Lady
In this 1964 musical, Hollywood's legendary "woman's director," George Cukor, transforms poor Cockney flower seller/street urchin Eliza Doolittle, played by Audrey Hepburn, into a proper lady. It is an adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe musical which was itself an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play "Pygmalion." The film further stars Rex Harrison as arrogant linguist Henry Higgins (Harrison also played the role opposite Julie Andrews on stage). He draws Eliza into a social experiment that will have unexpected consequences. Supporting players include popular British music hall star Stanley Holloway as Alfred P. Doolittle, Liza's feckless father; Wilfred Hyde-White as Colonel Hugh Pickering, Higgins' first and only friend; Gladys Cooper as Mrs. Higgins, Higgins's mother; Jeremy Brett, who would make a name for himself playing Sherlock Holmes, as Freddy Eynsford-Hill; Theodore Bikel as the Hungarian who thinks he's ever so shrewd, Zoltan Karpathy. And Mona Washbourne as Mrs. Pearce, Higgins' housekeeper. The motion picture features such great songs as "On the Street Where You Live," "The Rain in Spain," "I Could Have Danced All Night" and Holloway's "I'm Getting Married in the Morning." It won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
However, I gather from many reviewers of this collection that picture and sound quality were not as good here as if the movies were purchased individually. I assume that is why it is now available only from third parties. Nevertheless, I bought this compendium, as it contains three movie musicals that I love, and I have been happy with it.