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An American in Paris (1951)

Romance flourishes against the odds in glamorous Paris

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 109 minutes

UK Certificate: U


Gene Kelly stars as Jerry Mulligan, a struggling American painter living in Paris. Cheerful but broke, he spends his time trying unsuccessfully to sell his paintings to passers-by and hoping one day to have his own art show. This changes when an attractive older woman called Milo Roberts (Nina Foch) stops to buy his paintings. A wealthy socialite, Milo becomes his patron, although it is clear from the start that she is probably as interested in romance as she is in his art.

Jerry goes along with the arrangement with Milo for a while, however he is soon smitten by beautiful perfume shop assistant Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron), without realising that she is already involved with someone else – Henri Baurel (Georges Guétary) the French entertainer who raised her after she was orphaned in the war, who also happens to be one of Jerry's friends. Jerry and Lise spend time together, and their feelings grow, but Lise knows that she will have to tell him everything and stop seeing him.

“An American in Paris” is one of the most highly-regarded products of the great age of Hollywood musicals. Gene Kelly is at his athletic best throughout, with his final 'ballet within a painting' being an astonishing piece of film theatre. Leslie Caron's performance is not quite as strong in this, her first film appearance – although there are signs of the charm and ability that will appear more strongly in her later work. The plot is superficial, in common with most of the musicals of the period, although it is presented against a stunning backdrop that really does capture the essence of artistic Paris. Cheerful and colourful, this musical will brighten anyone's day.

It's Got: A stunning 17-minute last fantasy dance sequence.

It Needs: A more confident performance from Leslie Caron.

DVD Extras Only a trailer with this basic release. Extras: Trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10


An exuberant and lively production that paints a colourful picture of romance in Paris. One of the classic Hollywood film musicals.