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

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1. I don’t think so; the Paris setting on its own, as well as its attention to detail, is enough to make it stand out, in addition to some genuinely good performances.

2. Gene Kelly played these kinds of characters quite a bit, so he had experience. Kelly’s character is unlikeable throughout the entire film, though in this scene the only rude thing he does is insulting the college student who wants to critique his work and though he obviously could have been more polite about it, I can also understand his feelings in that situation, especially since she isn’t a professional art critic. If she wanted to critique his work, she could have told somebody else; she didn’t have to say it directly to his face.

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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?

If Minnelli, Kelly, Edens, Freed and Lerner had decided to present a more realistic storyline throughout and then presented this dream-like ballet as the finale of the film it would have had less spiritual and artistic impact. It would have felt totally disconnected from what came before as if it was the ending of a different story. 

Kelly’s films always offer these surreal, chimerical scenes and  bits of storytelling within a more workaday plot. His films embody a soulfulness which would have suffered if we were going along throughout with our feet firmly planted on the ground but then suddenly found ourselves swooped into the stratosphere in the last ten minutes. He was an artist of the first caliber and so a romantic at heart. Romantic not so much as a sexual device though there is that but rather romantic in the sense of an idealism, of perfection in an imperfect world.

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

He is friendly and amiable with his fellow artists even engaging in a friendly conversation with an artist set up across from him prior to his scene with Noel Neill (the original Lois Lane from the 50s TV show). Further, he explains to Milo his reaction to the, “third year girls” and it is plausible and relatable. Who enjoys to have their endeavors criticized especially by those without expertise or true conviction? 

Also, he warms to Milo when she presents herself on friendly terms. He allows himself, though still cynically cautious, to meet her as an equal. He allows her a small peek under his suit of armor into the truth of his situation. He is broke, a true “starving artist” even needing to bum a cigarette from her.  He doesn’t even know how much to charge her for his paintings. He has given up hope of selling them.

He doesn’t come across as much unlikable in this scene as he does road weary. He is frustrated expecting to be in a better situation by now than the one he presently finds himself in. And so he is blunt and sardonic. All artists at some point find themselves feeling vulnerable to the whims of their public. That is more what I sense in this scene.

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10 hours ago, A Ryan Seacrest Type said:

Jerry Mulligan is friendly and chatty to most around him at the start of this particular scene.  Unfortunately, that's where it ends.  He blows off the American student for what appears to be no legitimate reason, and while the rest of the clip in particular doesn't make Jerry come off too badly, what happens throughout the rest of the film makes Jerry one of my least likable characters in any movie I've ever seen.

Yes, An American in Paris looks wonderful.  Yes, the dance sequences and dream sequences are beautifully stylized.  Yes, Vincente Minnelli pulled off his usual signature tricks once again.  However, personally, I find this film loathsome.  It legitimately makes me physically ill watching Jerry Mulligan act the way he does to Milo, such as that ridiculous series of actions at the club where he first sees Lisa.  Then later, the way he stalks her.  And let's not sugarcoat it, there's nothing cute about it, he flat-out stalks her.  Later scenes with Jerry and Lisa, and Jerry and Milo, and Jerry and his guy friends (remember how he crumples up a note and tosses it to the ground like a petulant child?).....blergh.  I'm sorry.  An American in Paris is in my bottom-5 of all-time Best Picture winners.  I was hoping this week's Daily Doses wouldn't include this film, but perhaps Gigi instead.  We did get a clip from that one within today's lecture notes, so that made me smile.  Now perhaps I should have some champagne...

Image result for lucy champagne gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't hold back.  Tell us how you really feel about the film.  (Just teasing.)

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1 - I can't answer because I don't see An American in Paris yet, so I need to have a opinion about it.

2 - What I see in this scene, he was just tell off the lady who's criticizing his work, that's why he's so angry.

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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 don't believe this need be true. I think its more about the setup. In 'An American in Paris' the ending ballet is a sort of a day dream sequence. It only takes a few seconds a minute or so on film to state that we are being taken into the imagination of Jerry. In fact the realistic existence of Jerry and his art work are immersed in the fantasy ballet sequence. It has to be as large and fantastic as the artist's imagination. Minnelli knew how to make this work. 
 

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

Perhaps that he is an artist. Artists are often stereotyped to be temperamental, moody, quick to anger or upset and change disposition easily. When he jumps down the throat of 'Lois Lane' as the 3rd year student and defends himself  by stating that they make astute observations they overhear. 

With the Nina Foch Milo character we can't really blame him for not wanting to be put into a cage with golden bars. He is not for sale. Milo gets knocked to the canvas repeatedly but she keeps getting up. 

He is the alpha male chasing after Leslie Caron's Lise. The heart wants what the heart wants. Even though we know that Henri is a wonderful guy and doesn't deserve to get dumped in the end. I have seen this film many times and sometimes I imagine the characters reacting differently. What if Henri wasn't the bigger man and decided he couldn't give up Lise? What if he walks up to Jerry, socks him in the nose and then takes off to the car with Lise? Well he probably loses Lise anyway so there you are. 

 

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10 hours ago, A Ryan Seacrest Type said:

Jerry Mulligan is friendly and chatty to most around him at the start of this particular scene.  Unfortunately, that's where it ends.  He blows off the American student for what appears to be no legitimate reason, and while the rest of the clip in particular doesn't make Jerry come off too badly, what happens throughout the rest of the film makes Jerry one of my least likable characters in any movie I've ever seen.

Yes, An American in Paris looks wonderful.  Yes, the dance sequences and dream sequences are beautifully stylized.  Yes, Vincente Minnelli pulled off his usual signature tricks once again.  However, personally, I find this film loathsome.  It legitimately makes me physically ill watching Jerry Mulligan act the way he does to Milo, such as that ridiculous series of actions at the club where he first sees Lisa.  Then later, the way he stalks her.  And let's not sugarcoat it, there's nothing cute about it, he flat-out stalks her.  Later scenes with Jerry and Lisa, and Jerry and Milo, and Jerry and his guy friends (remember how he crumples up a note and tosses it to the ground like a petulant child?).....blergh.  I'm sorry.  An American in Paris is in my bottom-5 of all-time Best Picture winners.  I was hoping this week's Daily Doses wouldn't include this film, but perhaps Gigi instead.  We did get a clip from that one within today's lecture notes, so that made me smile.  Now perhaps I should have some champagne...

Image result for lucy champagne gif

 

4 minutes ago, Janeko said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, A Ryan Seacrest Type said:

Jerry Mulligan is friendly and chatty to most around him at the start of this particular scene.  Unfortunately, that's where it ends.  He blows off the American student for what appears to be no legitimate reason, and while the rest of the clip in particular doesn't make Jerry come off too badly, what happens throughout the rest of the film makes Jerry one of my least likable characters in any movie I've ever seen.

Yes, An American in Paris looks wonderful.  Yes, the dance sequences and dream sequences are beautifully stylized.  Yes, Vincente Minnelli pulled off his usual signature tricks once again.  However, personally, I find this film loathsome.  It legitimately makes me physically ill watching Jerry Mulligan act the way he does to Milo, such as that ridiculous series of actions at the club where he first sees Lisa.  Then later, the way he stalks her.  And let's not sugarcoat it, there's nothing cute about it, he flat-out stalks her.  Later scenes with Jerry and Lisa, and Jerry and Milo, and Jerry and his guy friends (remember how he crumples up a note and tosses it to the ground like a petulant child?).....blergh.  I'm sorry.  An American in Paris is in my bottom-5 of all-time Best Picture winners.  I was hoping this week's Daily Doses wouldn't include this film, but perhaps Gigi instead.  We did get a clip from that one within today's lecture notes, so that made me smile.  Now perhaps I should have some champagne...

Image result for lucy champagne gif

Hey, don't hold back.  Tell us how you really felt about the movie!  (Just teasing.)

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I love gene kelly as the struggling artist the use of color in the ending scene is brilliant and how it disappears at the end as does gene kelly and we only see the rose. I don,t think of him as unlikable he is just frustrated at his paintings being unappreciated and we see that come out when the third yr student tries to critiqe his paintings and he shoos her off

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Since the ballet is a fantasy it can be completely different from the rest of the film but Minelli takes care with every scene and the end ballet is not the only fantasy piece in the movie.

Jerry is likable because he approaches the scene in an upbeat manner and gives a friendly greeting to all he meets. He only turns sour because he has stereotyped all college juniors who go abroad and his disdain for her sets up his meeting with Nina Foch. It seems more of a plot device than a character flaw.

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I turned to today's lesson after watching most of Pal Joey on TCM. I bailed because the central character is so cruel and despicable. Sinatra plays Joey in the movie, but this was Gene Kelly's Broadway debut and he was able to fit the character like a glove. I bring this up in response to the question about Jerry's personality in An American in Paris. I notice that many of my fellow students defend him. I have a mixed response. I love Gene' Kelly's movies because I love his dancing. However, I have often struggled with the egotism and aggression of many of his characters. He is handsome and high energy and not a snob--look at his wonderful I Got Rhythm in the opening of the film. However, bring an woman on the scene and things get more problematic. The scene in the cafe where he is rude and dismissive of Nina Foch and won't take no for an answer from Leslie Caron makes me want to fast forward.  If I do fast forward to one of his romantic dances, I find this wonderful, lyrical, attractive guy. But the shadow is always there.

As to the contrast between the final ballet and the rest of the film, I don't think there is such a gulf and the film works fine. The earlier parts of the film have elements of fantasy (like the introduction of Leslie Caron) and, after all, it's a musical.  Of course, there is a mise-en-scene in the early part of the film  that represents reality, but is not truly realistic. We're not talking about Rossellini's Open City, after all. We're going from one level of stylization to another. The dancing street scene, the pas de deux by the Seine, the art students' ball blend seamlessly into the dream of love and loss that is the dream ballet. It is just wonderful. 

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What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable even though he acts pretty darn unlikeable?

He is played by Gene Kelly - enough said!!!

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I would say yes, mainly because if there was realism throughout the film and then you dive into a fantasy sequence it appears jarring, out of place. Now mixing a little realism into the fantasy wouldn't make it so bad and the transition itself would feel more seamless and smooth. I feel like there is more fantasy in this film due to the main idea of Jerry's relationship w/Lise. The very idea of their relationship feels like a fantasy as Lise is engaged more or less to Henri. Now once we get to the party, we see little bits of reality thrown in at the break-up of the two relationships. Then at the end we really see the reality, as Lise and Jerry are reunited after the ballet with Henri taking off alone. Yet what do they really know about each other?

I think what keeps Jerry Mulligan from being unlikeable has to do w/Gene Kelly and his acting choices. First as he walks up into Montmartre he is happy and invigorated. His short conversation w/the woman across the way is friendly. His guard only goes up when the young lady comes up talking in broken French, the first clue (besides her appearance) that she is a young college girl from America. Then she talks and her conversation makes it even more evident. Jerry is quite blunt, but he is also honest. What I find interesting however, is what happens when Nina Foch enters the picture as Milo. At first Jerry is confident, yet once Milo wants to buy his paintings he appears stunned and a bit out of his element. Which is quite a change from his earlier demeanor. 

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1. I think that the film's style is just what it needs to be. It was big, bold, down-to-earth, and what was needed for the time frame. It was competing for attention from a little thing called television like most movies were at the time.

2. Jerry Mulligan knew how to play his parts very well. He puts just enough macho man to loveable guy ratio in the scene. He was a complete jerk to the college girl but got stumped by the rich girl (Grace Kelly). Mulligan also played the part without being a complete jackass like you see in today's films.

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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?

Absolutely not.  It's like the contrast between Kansas and Oz in THE WIZARD OF OZ.  The often dull realistic settings are for the real world.  The stylized setting is for the fantasy, where anything's possible.

 

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

For one, when we first see Jerry, he's walking from his rented flat to his regular spot on Montmartre.  He walks with confidence and ease; he smiles and cheerfully interacts with everyone he meets.  We see his reaction to the work on the older fellow's easel, and we wish we could see what startles and tickles him so.  He's already won us over at least a little.

 

For another, he's right on the nose about the pretentious college student.  He's a no-nonsense kind of guy, blunt but honest.  He's older, wiser, and much more experienced, and he just doesn't care about her shallow observations as she talks down to him.  He's seen countless other college girls just like her, and as he points out to Milo, she's just trying "to lap up a little culture"; he's trying to hone his craft and find a spark of inspiration.  She's the rude American tourist who speaks terrible French in a comic, robotic fashion; he's an ex-patriot who speaks fluent French and has become a welcomed part of the artist community.  

Finally, he recovers at least part of his good cheer when he interacts with Milo. 

And that car?  Anybody ever read the children's poem about the spider and the fly?

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1. A movie that has as stylized a scene as An American in Paris' ending ballet doesn't need to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach throughout the film. If the entire movie were as stylized as the ending ballet, there would be no contrast and the powerful effect would be lost. On the other hand, the entire movie doesn't have to use a less-than-realistic, stylized approach either. A balance between the two would still provide an amazing impact for the ending ballet.
 

2. Jerry Mulligan acts pretty darn unlikable in this scene; however, he's not completely unlikable. When the scene starts, we see him doing everyday things and happily interacting with his fellow artists as he begins his day. He's abrupt with the student, but he sees through her and answers her honestly. He begins to warm up to Milo the longer they talk--especially when she offers to buy his paintings. However, I believe it's Gene Kelly himself who keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikable. His charm and personality shine through even when his character is trying to be pretty darn unlikable!

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9 hours ago, Can'tDance said:

Lets not gloss over Minnelli placing a caricature of "Winnie" Churchill painting still-life on a Parisian street.  Even "Mulligan" does a double-take.  

 

Thanks for pointing that out. It makes sense now, but I didn't make the connection. Now, on to the questions:

       Though it is not necessary for a movie that has a very stylized sequence, like the ballet ending of "An American in Paris" (1951), to use a less-than-realistic approach throughout the film, it lessens the roughness of the transition to that very stylized sequence to do so. When the whole movie is presented in a stylized fashion, the audience is already attuned to the fact that they are not dealing with a realistic presentation and transition smoothly to the ultra-stylized. If the overall presentation is too realistic, than a fantasy interlude is out of character with the rest of the film. At the extreme, a documentary with a fantasy sequence creates a disconnect that would, or should, be rejected by the audience.  I recall seeing some movies that had fantasy or flashback scenes that were in stark contrast with the rest of the story line and had found myself initially confused, until I figured it out. Having to do this lessens the effectiveness of the presentation; if I have to pull myself out of a movie to figure out what is going on in a movie, my viewing experience is compromised.  

      Jerry (Gene Kelly) is saved from being completely unlikable by his genial relationships with his fellow artists, as he strolls to his spot on the Montmartre. He engages in greetings and conversations with them as he moves along. He becomes unlikable in his over-reaction to his exchange with the "third-year girl" (Noel Neill), who offers unsolicited criticism in an undiplomatic manner. Instead of engaging her politely, or even ignoring her, he takes offense and dresses her down harshly. His reaction is telling. Why would he be so sensitive to criticism from a sophomoric neophyte? It indicates that he may have doubts about his own abilities. In fact, he and the girl are more alike than he wants to admit. They are both "brash Americans" striving to be something they are not. She is pretending to be a great intellect; he is pretending to be a great artist. He may also dismiss her because he doesn't believe he can get anything out of her.  Milo (Nina Foch) sees this over-reaction. As Jerry rails on about "third-year girls" giving him a pain, she comments, "Why, They are harmless enough." His interaction with Nina goes more smoothly, because she does not criticize his artwork, and he quickly sees that he can get something out of her, be it a cigarette, some money, or something more. Upon seeing her car, he observes that he should have demanded a higher price. We see that he is generally likable in superficial exchanges that mean nothing to him and unlikable in exchanges that are more involved and might actually benefit him.

    

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Where realty meets the fantasy of the film. It is not necessary to us a stylized approach through out the movie. It was wonderful just as it was. With the "dream" sequences going into the the realty scenes. Mr. Minnelli is such a genius with how he can go back and forth and keeps your interest up. Simply the best ...

 

Mr Kellys attitude is as American as it gets for the times. The "big dog" back in Paris, where a few years earlier we were involved in a war. His swagger climbing the streets, Although quite friendly to those he sees along the way on the street to the area where he is planning on setting up his paintings. He is quit gruff with the college student, and in the conversation he has with Nina Foch he appears taken aback when she offers her price for the works of art. 

Somewhat typical American swagger, where we can turn on the attitude and flip it off in a second... Thank you 

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I think it depends on the story and how the director chooses to interpret that story as to whether the entire movie has the same artistic style or not. A change makes a point. I like that the ballet scene is different because it is in the character's imagination and all of his experiences in Paris - the people, the market places, his desire to be a painter inspired by the great French impressionists, nd of course his love for this young French woman. The stylistic difference reminds me of the sepia sequence in Wizard and how that is used to contrast Dorothy's ordinary life in Kansas as opposed to the wildly different life in Oz. 

Jerry's interaction with fellow artists and people along the streets of Montemarte show he is liked and considered a member of the neighborhood. In this scene he is only rude to the third-year girl who wants to critique his paintings - a college student who thinks she knows it all based on her studies and not life. He's a little rude to Milo but treats her better because she asks if she can look at his paintings and she obviously loos more sophisticated.

Have to say though his character is unlikeable to me because of the way he treats Milo and stalks Leslie Caron. Kelly often played a cad and there are times I really dislike that persona he creates in films. 

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The fantasy ballet sequence at the end of the movie is my favorite part of the movie.  It is from the imagination of Gerry Mulligan as if it were one of his paintings he fell into.  I feel it's an essential part of the total ballet. It wouldn't have worked otherwise.

I agree with everyone that Gerry Mulligan isn't unlikeable.  He's just an ordinary guy trying to make a living and perfecting his art.  I can understand he would get a little testy when someone tries to over anylise  his work or be a bit cautious when someone really wants to by his paintings.

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 I first became acquainted with this movie on a football field. Seriously. Back when I was a junior in college, my college marching band did a field show based on an American in Paris. I found the music absolutely lovely but knew nothing of the movie. Many years later I finally did see the movie and understood what we were acting/marching out during our show. And that is when I fell in love with the movie. Gene Kelly interacting with those children Is simply marvelous. At first I did not understand the ballet, But now I see it as a very intrigal part of the movie.  And Leslie Caron. What can I say? She is simply magnificent. Now that I understand a little bit more about Vincent Minnelli and the styles that he worked with, I’m going to take a closer look at his movies and how he used color  and custom to tell story. 

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1. I like that the movie moves back and forth from the "ordinary" scenes (a struggling artist trying to sell his paintings, meeting a girl and being shot down, etc.) to the more fantastical ones like the ballet at the end. Using more than one approach like that gave the movie variety and a good balance of escapism and realism. 

2. I don't think that Jerry was an unlikeable guy. If he was being a bit unfriendly in this scene, it was because of frustration. He was working to sell his paintings and no one had been interested. Then, he met a girl who was a bit of a know-it-all and all too ready to criticize, and she pushed his buttons. We know that he's a struggling artist, and we sympathize with him - we know that his character isn't mean, but that he just didn't want to put up with unnecessary trouble.

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The whole point of the end ballet sequence is that it is a “dream”. It has to be stylized...unreal looking.  The rest of the movie needs to be realistic to make this contrast. Kelly’s character bounces along to the music, dressed in his white outfit...sure sign of a good guy. While he is short with the third year girl, his interactions with the locals are pleasant and familiar. 

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1) The stylized approach used throughout the street scenes in this film add a sense of artistic authenticity. Viewers from different parts of the world could feel as if they were walking the streets of Montmarte. Minnelli made it that believable! In this scene there are various types of artists in the busy alleyway streets as well as tourists or visitors walking by. It is my opinion that it was necessary to create the realism in each scene i.e. cafe, hotel, apartments for consistency, establish the love story then explode with the fantasy scenes.

2) Gene is likeable from the beginning of the scene as he gleefully carries his paintings, greets his fellow artists and sets up a spot for himself. For some this may seem as the "Ugly American" a little too cocky, too comfortable competing with French painters???? Although he has not sold a painting, he displays his work hoping for a buyer. The only moment that he becomes disagreeable is when the art student starts to dissect his work. He snaps at her. He doesn't even want a compliment from her.He is frustrated perhaps because the public doesn't appreciate his work. Then along comes Milo........

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1. No, the ending ballet sequence is his dream of what his love would have been like with Lisa. Dream sequences in musicals always have an otherworldly quality to them, regardless of the preceding or following movie plot.

2. The reason Jerry is likeable in this scene is that he is integrated into Paris life, unlike the other two Americans, the art student and the rich woman. He knows and speaks to the people around him (en Francais); you can tell he has a sense of humor by the double-take he makes when he sees the Winston Churchill-like painter; and he seems surprised that anyone would buy his art (a trace of modesty). He gives the art student a hard time and Milo because he knows their types - people who skim the surface of the Paris experience without interacting with the natives.

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22 hours ago, Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament said:

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

The first thing would be his American accent keeping him "likeable", during this period of time with the communist scare and being un-American, Kelly's character was a straight A male from New Jersey who gave his opinion bluntly. At the time, I can see audiences seeing this as refreshing-no lying, no secrets about who he is. He was also honest and not prideful, yes he doesn't like criticism and yes he hasn't sold any paintings.

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