NPR logo October Is Leslie Caron Month On TCM, And Today Is Only Part-Creepy


October Is Leslie Caron Month On TCM, And Today Is Only Part-Creepy

Turner Classic Movies is running a special on Leslie Caron in October — every Monday this month features her movies, and tonight are the best-known musicals: An American In Paris, Gigi and Lili.

I don't have much of an opinion about Lili, but An American In Paris and Gigi are both fascinating examples of '50s musicals. An American In Paris features Gene Kelly's long ballet finale, which is either really great or really pretentious, depending on whom you ask, and Gigi is just about the creepiest thing you will ever see passed off as a romantic story.

In watching Gene Kelly (which I've done quite a bit of over the years), I tend to favor the raucous and funny musicals like Singin' In The Rain and On The Town over the artsy An American In Paris, even though Paris is the one that won Best Picture. Still, if you like good movie dancing or Gershwin music, it's worth seeing once.

What I have a harder time recommending is Gigi, which has some nice Lerner & Loewe music (Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold do a lovely "I Remember It Well") but is tough to love, given that it's the love story of a teenage girl in training to be a "courtesan" (read: serial companion for wealthy men in return for being kept in comfort) and the guy who eventually figures out that he doesn't just want to give her jewelry and keep her as his mistress. Isn't that romantic?

I realize I am applying my 2009 sensibility to a different era, but it is the only one I have. And it's always a little squicked out by Gigi.