Tuesday, December 2, 2014
332. GIGI (1958)
Running Time: 115 minutes
Directed By: Vincente Minnelli
Written By: Alan Jay Lerner, Anita Loos, from novel by Colette
Main Cast: Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier, Hermione Gingold, Isabel Jeans
Click here to view the trailer
FROM WEE WEE'S TO OUI OUI'S
I realize I should've been back before noon for my second review of the day, but after watching Gigi I got sidetracked doing some chores around the house - a bit of a surprise for my wife, who's due home within the hour. Anyway, we're off together tomorrow, so that means I'll probably retire to my little TV room later on to continue today's binge of must see movies. For now, let's talk Gigi.
The plot sort of reminded me of My Fair Lady, except there's no Audrey Hepburn and instead there's Leslie Caron (Gigi), a poor man's Audrey. Gigi comes from a long line of socialite, spoiled, wealthy, well to do women, including her "grandma-ma" Madame Alvarez (Gingold) and her "auntie" Alicia (Jeans), the latter of whom is her teacher in the fine art of sophistication - you know, putting your pinky up when you sip tea and never lifting the saucer before you lift the coffee pot, those sorts of things. Once a week Gigi takes lessons from her Aunt Alicia, as Alicia hopes that one day Gigi will be groomed enough to be a brilliant lady. However. Gigi has different dreams & desires and those don't include learning how to be more lady like. Meanwhile, you've got Gaston (Jourdan), who is bored with life (that sounds serious - perhaps some prescription anti-depressants would've been just what the doctor ordered and this movie would've been over in jig time). He hates how trees are always green, how the sky is always blue and how he's always so rich & always being chased after by beautiful women (poor sap). He's engaged to Liane d'Exelmans (Eva Gabor), whom he breaks up with when he finds out that she's cheating on him with her skating instructor. Seriously, if you guys can't figure out the entire rest of the plot spoilers and all, then you haven't been paying attention to movies. However, for the ones who don't care to guess for lack of spoilage, I'll stop there. Maurice Chevalier co-stars as Gaston's uncle and he's far & away the best part of the whole production.
I mean, seriously, is this meant to be a ripoff of My Fair Lady? The casting of Caron who bore of resemblance to Audrey Hepburn, the basic plot which dealt with a girl being taught to act more sophisticated and even Louis Jourdan's belting out the tune "Gig" which seemed to have the same basic message as Rex Harrison's "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face". Add the fact that both were written by Lerner & Lowe and it seems like much more than a happy coincidence. What's with Lerner & Lowe anyway and why are they so preoccupied with girls being taught to act proper? I wonder if they had a rough childhood, with their mother forcing them to listen to show tunes and walk around with dictionaries on their heads, while balancing three champagne glasses in one hand and twirling a parasol in the other?
All kidding aside, I more put up with this one then enjoyed it. In fact, I barely enjoyed it at all. Outside of Chevalier's appearances (what a gem he was), I wasn't the least bit interested in what became of these characters, partly because the damn thing was so predictable that I could see the ending coming before the ink was dry on the opening credits. Best song honors also go to Chevalier, but not for his famous "Thank Heaven for Little Girls (which comes off more like a creepy anthem for pedophiles everywhere), but instead his duet with Hermione Gingold and "I Remember It Well", a cute little ditty where Gingold's character remembers much more about a date with Chevalier's character than he does. It's also worth noting that during and after watching this, I came up with a new test for judging musicals. It's called the "hum test" and revolves around my desire and ability to hum songs from the movie after watching it. If can remember some of the tunes and have a desire to hum and/or sing them, then "yay", your musical is tops with me. Otherwise, it fails and well...like Gigi, it's forgettable and dull. I dig a good musical, but honestly, they're few and far between and with the exceptions of My Fair Lady and Grease, I'm hard pressed to think of anymore really good ones. Nuff said...
RATING: 3.5/10 Someone online said it's movies like this that make people discredit the Oscars and I can hardly disagree. Nine Oscars for this pile? Gimme' a break!
MOVIES WATCHED: 878
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 123
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