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.

SPOILER ALERT!


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

December 2, 2014  12:47pm

14 comments:

  1. Oh good grief.. Gigi...

    I have been conversing with Amanda on this one recently (hi there) and both agree this is well into 'Well dodgy' territory.

    OK, so I don't like musicals, so perhaps I started on thee wrong foot..
    And perhaps I'm judging this out of it's time.. BUT

    Oh come on.. even .Way back then' in so called different times.. how on earth was creepy, oily MC able to creep round public parks drooling over 'Leeeetle girls', and NOT have people feel.. queezy.. about it.

    And then we have the young girl being groomed into the wonderful world of prostitution. OK, the up market, supposedly glamorous end of the market.. but still groomed for it.
    And our lead man.. falls in love with the young, utterly innocent girl.. but falls out of love when she grows up. But, hey, it's OK, she goes back to being a 'sweet little, young girl', so that's all OK, so he can marry her.

    Sorry, the whole thing is just .. so...


    Ooops.. we have another 'Ray rant' don't we? Sorry.

    Shut up and move on...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, Chevalier's character was creepy. I was kind of appalled by him near drooling over "little girls" in the park. Anyway, mark another in the agree column.

      Delete
  2. I completely agree with you on this movie. I would actually rate it lower. I thought Caron and Chevalier were completely annoying. This movie has dated very poorly, but even back then, it seems odd it was so popular. Actually, this is one of my least favorite book films. Good review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could this be the worst movie to ever win the Best Picture Oscar? I think so...

      Delete
  3. I have not seen all of the best picture winners, but it is certainly a contender.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Is this some sort of a record? Myself, Larry, and Amanda a.. agreeing with you and each other...

    As for "Could this be the worst movie to ever win the Best Picture Oscar? "
    A strong contender..
    I, personally may well hate Sound of Music more, but I'd still say Gigi is a worse film.. I also have an obsessive 'thing' about intensely loathing Forrest Gump, but I think this manages to beat even that.
    Andrew, I did a quick check.. and, yes, this scores even less than Casablanca from you.. So it looks like we may have a 4 way seep on that as well
    Amanda, is this bellow even 'Lawrence of Arabia', one I'm sure I remember you disliking...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haven't seen Lawrence of Arabia yet. This kind of makes me want to get you, Larry and Amanda together and try to compile a list of the worst Best Pictures of all time though....

      Delete
  5. I'm missing 'Cavalcade' and 'Going my way' for a clean sweep of AA winners...but of the rest..
    By a very long way the worst.. (and I make a difference between between 'bad film' and 'I just don't like this one')
    So we had a glut of musicals around that time.. and I don't like that genre.. but I don't think things like Oliver, West side, My Fair lady, an American in Paris etc are as simply 'bad' as this.
    There are umpteen notably 'Just not good' ones.. that really shouldn't have been considered such as ; How Green was my valley, Round the world, Slumdog, and $ Million Baby, but neither are they 'bad'.
    So my entry is decidedly Gigi.
    (I thing Lawrence is quite enjoyable.. I know Amanda was well bored - and appreciate why- , and It is yet another war film for you to endure.. but it is certainly spectacular)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually tallied up my missing AA winners yesterday on my lunch break and turns out I'm missing 23 that I've NEVER seen and a few that I've seen so long ago that a rewatch would be mandatory. Perhaps we'll do a little 4 or 5 movie run of AA winners in March, as I still have several left from THE BOOK.

      Delete
  6. I think it does score below Lawrence of Arabia, simply because LoA was boring while Gigi was actually pretty offensive. Ugh. I would love to compile that list! I am not a big fan of the Academy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We should really all - you, me, Ray and anyone else that wants to pile in - get together and do it.

      Delete
  7. Whilst I didn't find LofA boring, I'm certainly with Amanda on this being offensive.
    If you go on IMDb, there are lots of people who get very uptight about attacks on this film.. Pretty much saying if we find MC's character creepy, it is us who have te problem
    Well.. if taken as a one off.. just take the 'Leeeeetle girls' song on it's own.. maybe, just maybe you can say we are looking at it with different eyes to those that made it. They claim that we should see that song & section as utterly innocent and it is our modern obsession of seeing a paedophile everywhere that makes it wrong.
    Well, at first, a fair point - I strongly agree that so many bits from old films can be seen with today's eyes and new interpretations (wrongly) pasted on to them.
    However, I think this is not true in this case.
    Just look back at MC's long history of portraying rather creepy, oily lecherous men smarming over girls and young women. Look at the context of the rest of the film.. it IS about grooming a young girl..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess that's a valid argument, but I'm still in the camp that thinks it's creepy.

      Delete
    2. I feel bad.. I am now one of the main causes of fueling a thread on this crappy, horrible film that is as long as the magnificent ' Cat People', and much more discussion than films much more deserving of attention.

      Delete