Friday, August 31, 2007

An American in Paris

I've been thinking and reading a lot about An American in Paris, not to mention watching it, as I prepare for a trip to Paris. I was about to write a creative and ingenious post about the ballet sequence and how the movie's creative team, from Gene Kelly to the set creators to the costume designers, used the great works of real artists as their inspiration. But as I did a little web surfing for some examples of the paintings that inspired the moods, colors, and dance styles, I've found that someone beat me to it! Great minds think alike! Visit the wonderfully-titled "This is not my blog" for a fantastic post that runs through the ballet sequence and the paintings that inspired it. A Filmsite review offers a similar explanation minus the actual movie clips and paintings. I can leave you with one original comment, however. According to "The Magic Factory: How MGM Made An American in Paris" by Donald Knox, Arthur Freed and Gene Kelly were visiting Paris after the film was made and it was arranged to show the movie to the artist Raoul Dufy in the screening rooms of the MGM office. Dufy (that's his painting of the Place de la Concorde above) was very old at the time, and Gene and Arthur were "sweating with fear" as they watched it with him. Gene comments on what happened when they got to the ballet:
Well, he just chortled; he was so pleased. After the house lights went up, he asked if we would show him the ballet again, which we joyously did. He thought we had all done a wonderful job.
So do we, Gene, so do we!

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