Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #12 (From AN AMERICAN IN PARIS)

229 posts in this topic

  1. I believe it didn’t need to because the ending ballet feels more like a dream in Kelly reminiscing a what if scenario of him getting what he wants like Paris lifestyle and Caron as their matchup. The whole film before it was grounded that way to balance out the realism and slightly exaggerative portions of Paris. Though the setting isn’t shot in Paris, its sound stage or crafted buildings playing as Paris have decorated and stylized features around it to show off the best of Paris and its believability for Kelly’s character to live in and go through in his conflict as a struggling artist wanting more after WWII.
     
  2. He doesn’t act unlikable for no reason as he does have likability around Paris to not feel as much cynicism. He has his morning walk greeting artists with kindness and respect, and as another example later from this scene, entertains the kids with joy and happiness. He’s full of life in some parts. And when he becomes unlikable, it’s for a reason because he doesn’t like taking criticism from a non-artist enthusiast like a third-year college student who attempts to speak French on him. He doesn’t appreciate her when she forces through to express her opinion and act like she knows it better than him. He admits too that he doesn’t like compliments on both positive and negative (positive making him not feel better because it doesn’t further him to do better in his art as just staying the same or bland, and negative would bother him if taken that they don’t understand his own style or execution). He only opens up on the constructive criticism (maybe) when a rich lady appears and is more respectful on asking permission to look at his work. Though he is a little rude when it comes to that encounter, he allows as he accepted her respect.

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!.  There is a fairy tale embedded in this film which makes the highly stylized ballet seem appropriate.

 

2.  First, how can anyone not like Gene Kelly?  Next, his character is still "G.I. Joe" in Paris.  He is somewhat unrefined and terse, but adorable in his appearance. He shrinks a bit in confidence when approached by a more sophisticated, wealthy educated female American, which makes him seem vulnerable.

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  1. Does a movie that has as stylized a scene as An American in Paris’ ending ballet need to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach throughout the film?

No. The contrast is essential because Art is a driving force, even another character, throughout the film.  The Visual Art that Mulligan does, the Musical Compositions by Levant's character, even the Performing Arts are all on display as driving forces for the characters.  Their "real lives" are shown in a less stylized way so that we see the stylized fantasy their lives may be.  Levant does it in the concerto scene just as we see in the ending ballet sequence.

  1. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable?

His passion to his art and his honest infatuation with Caron's character.  He still is pretty much a jerk in the restaurant, but we forgive him because Milo is clearly trying to use her wealth and influence to seduce him.  Socially (and maybe even Politically), this makes her unattractive to us because it is non-traditional for women to be so aggressive.

 

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1. Does a movie that has as stylized a scene as An American in Paris’ ending ballet need to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach throughout the film?

I love highly stylized scenes and they clearly allow the director to bring his own vision to a film. They take us into someone else's imagination. There has too be some realism to contrast with the highly stylized scenes and to carry the storyline and make it realistic. Stylized scenes work especially well in musicals where you have to accept a certain amount of suspension of disbelief anyway. 
 

2. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable?

Possibly because he is so energetic and gets to the point. He's pretty brash though and you get the feeling you will get the truth from him...as he sees it. 

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