Gigi (1958)

Dir. Vincente Minnelli
Starring: Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier, etc.

When I first I heard about this film several years ago, I was surprised to find out that it won so many Oscars (9, beating out Gone With Wind). I was surprised because the film doesn’t seem to get mentioned very much, even when I’ve seen programs about musicals. Now I’m not surprised. But before I go into that…would other idiots like this? It’s hard to say because it would depend on several subjective factors, but I wouldn’t really recommend this. I don’t think many of you would think the film warrants all the awards. Larri didn’t like it. In fact, she was upset that she stayed up to watch it.

The film is about a rich bachelor (Jourdan) who eventually falls for a young woman Gigi (Caron), who is trained by her French courtesan great aunt. It’s a musical, music no dance numbers. The music was forgettable, but that’s so subjective. The acting was terrible, too.

Besides the costumes, I wouldn’t have thought the film won a lot of awards. The songs weren’t that great to me, nor the performances. Some people may like Maurice Chevalier, but I thought he was boring. Yes, “I remember it Well” was witty and amusing, but I can’t think of any other memorable songs, both in terms of lyrics and music. I also found the acting atrocious–totally artificial and not boring. I believe Jourdan and Chevalier are both native French speakers, but they speak with in English with phony sounding French accent. On the accent note, Gigi’s grandma and her grand-aunt are played by British actors with a theatrical British accent that was both affected and inappropriate, given the fact that they were supposed to be French.

The whole idea that Gigi was the young girl that Jourdan’s character wouldn’t notice was kinda hard to accept, too. For one thing, her girlishness wasn’t very convincing. When he finally realizes he’s attracted to her, the transformation in Gigi is hardly dramatic or significant, at least in my view. Basically, I didn’t connect with the characters.

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