Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

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

229 posts in this topic

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?

Had the film been presented in a more stylized setting throughout, it would detract from the final ballet sequence. We’ve seen the “real” Paris (albeit on the MGM backlot) and Jerry’s struggle as an artist. To have these scenes in a more stylized setting would not provide the same sense of character and might make the audience question whether Jerry is merely playing at being an artist or seriously pursuing it.

The final sequence is Jerry’s fantasy and what better way to present it than the stylized drawings of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec which includes vibrant colors with delicate strokes.

Although, I must admit that An American in Paris is not a favorite film of mine. I can appreciate the artistry of the ballet sequence, but I have always found that it (a) is too long of a sequence even though it is choreographed to the Gershwin concerto and (b) is a cumbersome ending to the film.

 

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

The sequence with Nina Foch is preceded by scenes of him walking through Paris to his “spot” on the wall. Here, we see him as a very friendly character, saying hello to his fellow artists. So we’re already predisposed to liking him.

Granted, Jerry Mulligan treads a fine line between acting and being unlikeable, but I prefer to think of Jerry as more “brutally honest” rather than unlikeable. He doesn’t tolertate fools lightly as demonstrated with his interactions with Noel Neill as the “third year girl,” starting by stopping her from speaking French with absolutely no trace of (nor the desire to try and emulate) an appropriate accent. He says he doesn’t particularly like criticism (who does?) but especially not when it comes from someone expounding their uneducated opinions.

He’s incredulous that someone is actually willing to purchase his paintings and, given the offer, doesn’t even know what to charge for his works. It’s that disbelief that softens his demeanor and makes him more human. And we, as the audience, even feel sorry for him when he believes Nina Foch’s character is just handing him a line because she doesn’t have the money she promised.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I kind of love when a musical goes into a more stylized sequence. Musicals themselves are stylized and not generally too realistic, since people who burst into song to comment on the action of their lives don't have an orchestra and kick line backing them up. (My husband used to say that "nobody bursts into song like people do in musicals," but he's lived with me long enough to know that's not true.) Part of my love of those sequences may be that several of my favorite musicals from my early days had those types of sequences, though. I suppose it just feels like that's the way that they're supposed to be.

I really think that Gene Kelly is just one of those guys who can play a lovable jerk. He's not particularly nice in this clip, but he's also just self-deprecating enough to come across as charming (like his remark that she can come back tomorrow to get the painting, since it will likely definitely still be there). It doesn't hurt that he's handsome and graceful, but also a little bit laid back. He has an ease of movement and of mannerisms that softens his meanness and makes you forget (or ignore) his barbs. 

Also, I have to say that I kind of missed the music the first time I watched this clip, just because it was so well-integrated into what Kelly was doing on the screen. It just works so well together - it's beautiful!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every time I see An American in Paris I can't believe it was shot in Culver City, California because it looks exactly how I envision it looking in the 1950s. Vincente Minelli was such a stellar talent he was able to help the audience suspend disbelief no matter how many times they'd seen one of his musicals. 

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, because the film is supposed to be as authentically Parisian as possible to contrast with Jerry Mulligan's American style. The ballet is fantastical and works beautifully as a representation of the art and artists he's been exposed to as a budding talent. His love for Lise, and its surreal pull on him in this setting make the approach to the dance appropriate and memorable.

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

His honesty and camaraderie with the other male characters make him sympathetic and realistic, therefore appealing. The generosity of spirit he exhibits towards the children on the street in the I Got number also makes him appeared flawed, but kind. Through his dance, he patiently teaches them English, while entertaining them with a charming tap number.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. The finale ballet should be stylized because it is fantasy and needs to contrast to real life.

2.  Gene Kelly is very likable. He charmingly interacts with everyone on his walk through the Montmartre, including Churchill. He is decidedly unfriendly to the "third year" student, who had a condescending air and epitomized "the Ugly American" abroad. I'm sure his attitude was based on previous encounters with other such students.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jerry really isn't unlikeable. I think he's quite the opposite. But as a struggling artist, I can see how it could come across as such. He was actually really friendly to the other people on his walk to the spot where he hung his paintings. He wasn't so nice to the "third-year" girl because she was criticizing his work, because who likes to be criticized? He was nice and interactive with the other gal who came to check out his paintings. He appeared to be very stunned and surprised when she wanted to buy two of the pieces. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 like the realistic approach that is used in the rest of the film. Who would think that it was really was filmed on the back lot. The streets and buildings are so realistic. I think this contrasts nicely with the fantasy ballet at the end of the film.

What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? Even though he is actually rude to the "3rd year girl" , he still has that grim and demeanor that everyone loves. He stops to talk to people as he is walking on the street. He has the clothes of a regular guy. I just love the way he moves!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  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? Minnelli shows us a happy Paris of the daytime here.  Paris also seems to be filled with Americans.  Its a dream everyone has of going to Paris.  It feeds our fantasies.  
     
  2. What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable?  Jerry isn't unlikable, the college student is.  He's not unlikable because he says what he thinks and its hard to argue with what he thinks.

Nina Foch didn't even look in her purse when she whips out her cigarette case opened and her lighter.  She seems so sure of herself (money) that it starts to make Gene look a little less sure of himself.

What was the domed building in the background when the car rolls up?  Did Minnelli recreate a particular street in Paris, maybe where he saw someone selling their art?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In response to the first question, I think the answer that a movie needs to have one particular style or approach consistent through out the film, would be no.   It may be that a cohesive style is useful to deliver the intent of the filmmaker or it may be that it cannot.   In An American in Paris, the ballet sequence represents Jerry's own despair of losing Lise, and showing it a more stylized approach reflected in his drawing (also something deeply personal and intently felt by his character) makes the contrast that much more marked.  

Jerry is likely in this clip because he was so honestly vulnerable and exposed.   He was rude to the 3rd year girl, because she was something he was not, and possible may be critical of what he was and what was important to him: his art.   He said as much.   That his character never conceived that he would ever sell one of his paintings, also means he was not as confident in his talent as a painter as he might portray outwardly.   Later in the film, when he talks about that for a painter, it is the original that matters.   That original has all of his talent and passion painted onto the canvas.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, jeaninejj said:

While I love AAIP, I also agree that Jerry Mulligan is obnoxious toward Lise (she even calls him on it), treats Milo like a spare tire, and overall acts like a spoiled kid.  Sure, if you want to spend two years in Paris living cheap while trying to sell your own mediocre artwork, that's fine.  Also, on Milo's part, if she wants to spend her money "buying" companionship, OK.  But she could buy a better companion - one who would actually flatter her and pay attention to her. 

Gigi to me is creepy - the dialog about and treatment of women in that film highlights older men using and tossing aside women who are often younger.  The movie is gorgeous, and I love Leslie Caron, but the last time I saw the film on big screen (about two years ago) I couldn't really watch Maurice Chevalier ogling "little girls."

So - to indulge my love of musicals, I often have to blink past the gender treatments. 

Thanks for your thoughts, A Ryan Seacrest Type!

Thank YOU, and the multiple others who commented on my original post.  I enjoyed reading everyone's take on the film and my personal feelings about it.

Gigi didn't quite give me the creeps like this one did, but I can TOTALLY see why it would to some, especially in today's society.  If Maurice Chevalier was walking around singing "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" in a public space today like he was back then, he'd be in the back of a squad car faster than you could say "Megan's Law", but I'm able to get past that in Gigi because the overall film just doesn't irk me like AAIP does.  My wife and I both love Gigi but it isn't lost on us at all that the film is basically a story of a young girl being taught to be a prosti.....erm....."courtesan".  It's just a lovely film though.  I think I feel that way because the story doesn't have its moments of ludicrousness, there isn't song-and-dance that feels like filler throughout, and most importantly all of the characters are genuinely likable.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ballet scene at the end of the film is pure fantasy for Jerry, I don't believe the rest of the film would have been right if it was as stylized as the ballet.

When the third year girl arrives to look at Jerry's paintings, Jerry becomes agitated by her and develops an attitude of just take your snootiness and leave.  As you watch Jerry's body language, you can tell he just wants the third-year girl to leave.  Jerry's body language changes again in Milo begins looking at his paintings, he becomes relaxed and nice. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, MrDougLong said:

 

2.    What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? Jerry represents post-war American confidence and cockiness. We can tell from his interactions with these two women that he hasn’t sold any of his paintings yet and that he’s had a lot of college students criticize his work – no wonder he’s impatient with Noel Neill.

That's actually a hell of a take on that particular part of the scene that I never would have thought of myself.  Kudos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Marianne said:

Your post has made me rethink Gene Kelly's screen persona a bit. Although I don't think he comes off quite as badly as you state here, he does border on aggressive. What redeems him is that we know that he is Gene Kelly and we know that An American in Paris is a musical meant to be fun and escapist. Without that knowledge, Leslie Caron's character has every reason to want to avoid him, and you might be right about Kelly's behavior being menacing.

In many of Kelly's films, he starts out as a cad and is redeemed by his love for a good woman. He just might be his most disagreeable to start when it comes to An American in Paris.

Thank you for your post. I still love most Gene Kelly films (just can't like Brigadoon, no matter what I know about its background and production!), but I'll have to watch many of them again with a slightly different perspective.

Thank you for your take on...well, your take on MY take...lol...I actually love that you noted that the musical is meant to be "fun and escapist", you're absolutely right.  I accept that times and norms and societal behaviors were different back then, and generally such things don't bother me when I see older films.  I might squirm a bit at times (the crows in Dumbo, anyone?) but I get it was a different time, so I can look past it.  Several years ago, I blogged all the Best Picture Oscar winners because my wife thought it would be fun to do (it was!), and it also gave me a prod to actually see all of the winners in general.  I had never seen this film prior to when I watched it for the blog, and I was so excited to do so because it had all the ingredients of a film I would and should love:  Gene Kelly, MGM musical, etc etc.  I had every expectation of loving this movie.  By the time the film ended, I wanted to bury myself.  It left such a bad taste in my mouth that I was completely unable to look past the whole "it was a different time" thing, and offhand I can't even think of a second film where I've had that happen.  Soit, je suppose.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 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. 

GREAT CATCH!!  I never would have caught that on my own!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not at all. The scene is set up to be a fantasy and it serves it purpose.

I found Kelly's character of Jerry is to be just a typical and slightly cynical American man. He is necessarily unlikeable but perhaps being a starving artist isn't doing any justice to his personality. Hunger can make a man cranky once in a while i.e. his reaction to the third year student.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. I think the concluding "fantasy" sequence to "An American in Paris" (1951) is beneficial to the entire film.  Thinking back to what I learned in my cinema studies classes at Hood College; the audience needs to be in the "zeitgeist," or a moment of time.  If we lose out on zeitgeist and escapism, then the film (or the medium) will not hold anyone's interest.    The "zeitgeist" moment what makes the concluding number in "An American in Paris" (1951) unique in the film.  You could say the same for key musical moments in Gene Kelly's other famous MGM musical features, including "Singin' in the Rain" (1952) and "Brigadoon" (1954).

 

2. After viewing "An American in Paris" (1951) from time-to-time, I don't believe Gene Kelly's character of Jerry Mulligan is unlikable at all.  During the scene where he has a confrontation with Noel Neill's student character and Nina Foch's characterization of Milo, he seems to be perturbed by the student (Neill) and Milo (Foch)'s approach in the scene.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) I feel that film musicals in and of themselves are less than realistic if not entirely unrealistic. Perhaps that is what draws me to them, I don't know...I have never asked myself that question until this evening. Therefore, a stylized piece like the ballet in "An American in Paris", the dream sequence from "Oklahoma!", Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling in "Royal Wedding" or the "Beauty School Dropout" number from "Grease" to name but a few, all help to elevate the musical to a higher degree.

   If the willingness to accept characters who burst into song and entire small town's citizenry breaking into a choreographed dance routines is to be expected when viewing a film musical, than it stands to reason that an even greater suspension of disbelief is going to be required when needed to express what is going on in the mind of a character.

   The ultra romantic ballet in Central Park performed magnificently by Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in "The Band Wagon" is not just a dance number; it is the expression of their love and I will go so far as to state that this is onscreen sex writ large (and sanitized for 1950's audiences)

   At no time do any of these hyperrealized scenes diminish from what came before/what is to come in their respective films.

2) Judging from this clip alone I'd say that Jerry is a curmudgeonly jerk. He is a starving artist with a chip on his shoulder and has zero people skills (did those exist in 1951?). The only thing Jerry has are his good looks and a rather charming smile.

   (What is really interesting is that Jerry is completely unaware that the woman he just insulted is actually Lois Lane and when she tells her boyfriend Superman what happened, Jerry will be an American in pieces!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 think it does.  The ballet scene is the show stopper.  We expect it to be over the top, vibrant, and bold.  These exaggerated elements aren't necessary to the rest of the story.  In fact I think they would become distractions taking away from the narrative of the movie.

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

I think he acts so unlikeable in the section with the "third year' girl, not out of pure meanness, but as a way to protect himself from criticism.  He knows he isn't the best artist around, and he doesn't need another art "expert" to tell him that.  We can see that he is perfectly capable of being nice in his interactions with the other people he meets along the way to his spot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, PKayC said:

"For a painter, the mecca of the world for study, for inspiration, and for living is here on this star called Paris.  Just look at it--no wonder so many are have come here and called it home!  Brother, if you can't paint in Paris, you better give up and marry the boss' daughter."  This is Jerry Mulligan"s (Gene Kelly) vocalization at the opening of An American in Paris which explains and justifies his presence in post-WWII France.  Just as actors go to New York for the theatre or Hollywood for movies, painters go to Paris to test their skill and success in their craft.  The Daily Dose clip shows that smooth transition from the real film montage of architectural jewels of the Paris landscape to Vincente Minnelli's recreation of Montmartre with the central tower of the Sacre Coeur in the background.  Minnelli captures the essence and the "feel" of the Parisian artist culture with Jerry's jaunty travels through the side streets. The mise-en-scene is stylized, but it is not over-the-top artificial to the point of being tres gauche and gaudy. Jerry's pause and double take at a Winston Churchill look-alike (or is it really Winston?) is a delightful nod to and confirmation of Jerry's opening lines--even Churchill needs to come to Paris to prove his artistic worth!  Jerry is in good company to test his skills.

It is readily apparent that Jerry is accepted into the Parisian art scene by him stopping to admire a fellow artiste's work and by the French bearded, beret-wearing painter and classically clothed gendarme as they affectionately hug him.  Yes, Jerry is in his comfort zone given that he has his own spot where he regularly sets up his paintings.  It is a bit of a schtick gag to have a fellow artist turn his painting around--showing the notion that modern art is still a bit misunderstood by the general public, but it adds some humor to a light-hearted scene supporting by the jolly strolling background music.   

I always laugh at Noell Neill's depiction of the third-year girl who stops to examine Jerry's paintings.  I started my undergraduate studies at a liberal arts college, Kalamazoo College, in Kalamazoo, Michigan where students went on foreign study during their junior year of the K' Plan, or as Jerry explains: "American college kids.  They come here to take their third year and lap up a little culture."  Neill's nasal, Midwestern accent while speaking French and her desire to analysis the artistic elements of Jerry's painting are so spot-on with the American student desiring to extract the most out of his or her foreign study experience.  Jerry is ruff and abrupt with the third-year girl because he knows that she does not have the money to buy one of his creations; he is quick and shrewd is his assessment of her status.  His attitude is parallel to the American businessman's philosophy of "time means money."  In this postwar period, businesses and industries are eager to get on with making a profit, and Jerry is no different than the average Joe who is concerned with the bottom line--make money and dispenses with the formal necessities of conversation.   This street is Jerry's office, and it represents his work day.                                                                                                                                                                                                When the camera pans to Milo watching the interaction of Jerry and the third-year girl, the viewer catches a glimpse of a Degas painting of ballet dancers in their tutus.  Perhaps, this is a hint of the dream sequence ballet that will happen at the end of the film as well as Lise's balletic introduction through the conversation Henri Baurel (George Guetary) and Adam Cook (Oscar Levant).  Again, these small details help build in the viewer's mind that Paris is a place of artistic beauty and romantic endeavor--Paris as the city of love.  Jerry observes that Milo is more sophisticated and therefore, wealthy by her clothes and how she carries a mink stole on her arm; I think he estimates that she has some money, but is surprised by how much money she is willing to pay for his paintings.  When she says that she does not have the cash, Jerry is disillusioned by his estimation of her status, but he is reaffirmed when he sees her car with a chauffeur.  Jerry has hit the jackpot!                                                                                                                                                                                                                Overall, Jerry Mulligan is a likable character who has a sense of his own charm and a confidence in his economic and social pursuits.  He is very American in his attitude that he is capable of getting what he wants whether it is a business transaction of his paintings or the romantic fulfillment of love.  He goes at each task with a no-fuss,  a what-you-see-is-what-you-get perceptive.  Perhaps it is not intended, but Jerry dressing in all white is indicative of a house painter, a more vocational job but less artistic profession. His clothing ensemble may connect with the working-class audience who can see Jerry as a regular Joe. Jerry is not pretentious; he does not try to be more sophisticated to appeal to any person. He is genuine and authentic in his personality.  Perhaps, this lack of a facade is what attracts children to crowd around him when he returns to his apartment from painting, that and a supply of bubble gum! He is playful and childlike is his musical instruction.  Jerry is a gentleman in stepping aside when Lise decides to go to America with Henri, but he is openly overjoyed when she returns.  He does wear his emotional heart on his sleeve; no French aloofness has invaded his persona. The audience cheers for the American hero who wins the French girl by being himself.

One of my favorite parts of this film is at the beginning when Jerry is waking up in his tiny Paris apartment and getting his breakfast ready.  This simple scene is a dance of intricate movements with Kelly's feet, but it tells the viewer so much about his life through movement and background music.  College students, as well as struggling artists, can relate to living in small spaces with limited resources.

 

I like your analysis of this scene in An American in Paris.  It brought some persective that I had not considered.  The only point I would argue would be the overall likability of Jerry but I suppose that is a reflection of the complexity of human relationships in real life as expressed in film.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As we have learned, this film was shot primarily in Culver City, California, with only a few "famous landmark" sequences which were actually filmed in Paris. I was shocked to see how dirty the Palais Garnier and the Arc de Triomphe looked in the early 1950's! They were covered in soot. They are much more presentable now. 

palaisgarnier1950.jpg

palaisgarniernow.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

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?

Musicals are not suppose to make sense. Everything goes. The ballet demonstrates Gene Kelly’s appreciation of all art forms. I think he was the most successful with dream or flasback scenes. I was watching A Star is Born recently and felt that the flashback scene For Born in A Trunk was forced. Gene had a special way with those types of scenes. The ballet was exquisite from the dancing to the scenery to the costumes and of course, the music.
 

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

I found his character to be quite unlikeable throughout the movie. He came off as feeling that if he was American he should have whatever he wanted. He forced himself onto Leslie Caron and used and discarded Nina Foch. In between though he would sing and dance and make you forget anything else. My favorite interactions were withe children I Got Rhythym and dancing with the lady in By Strauss.

Gene Kelly was a genius. He danced beautifully and knew how to bring out the best in his dancers. He also had Gershwin music. Just fabulous.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 think so. The contrast between the real world and the fantasy makes complete sense. It also makes the fantasy really pop when we get to that point. If the ballet was muted and more realistic, it wouldn't make sense as a fantasy.

 

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

The way he dismisses the college girl is pretty funny actually. He's kind of snotty, but she's pretty smug to begin with, so I don't like her anyway. That's why I like that he is so dismissive of her and her ideas. He also starts the scene with being really friendly to the other artists on the street, which shows that he takes an interest in them and already knows them. He begins the scene likable, where the student does not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  My dream was to travel the world, and I was fortunate enough to do so.  As a child, I would check out books about foreign countries from the school library, and sit for hours pouring over all the pictures.  Those books and artwork depicting grand cities and exotic places were the vision I had of the rest of the world.  So when the first foreign city I visited was Paris, my mind was full of all the images that Minnelli captured in this film.  The word “Paris” evokes romance, excitement, beauty, and culture, and each person sees those images in their own imagination.  Imagination is personal, dreamlike, and often unrealistic.  I think Minnelli’s use of this stylized approach, bathing the viewer in an ambience of striking and colorful images in a musical format, was a stroke of genius.  All the characters in the film have certain conceptions of themselves – Jerry, the undiscovered Montmartre artist; Adam, the most brilliant concert pianist; Milo, the wealthy “mentor”; Henri, the beloved of the most fascinating creature; and Lise, the compliant, indebted young lady.  Only after the masquerade party, when Jerry is jolted from his dream by the honking of a car horn, do the masks come off and reality sets in. Milo and Adam go on their way as the real lovers come together.

2.  I found very little to like about Jerry in this scene.  He didn’t like getting sized up by the 3rd yearers, yet he did a fine job of sizing up Milo, who had been sizing him up from across the street.  He moved in to bum a cigarette to indicate his openness to the offer he sensed, and perhaps hoped, was coming, and he checked her out as she admired his artwork.  She just happened to come up short of funds for the acquisition, so the invitation to her hotel with its attendant luxury mode of transportation, was the casting of her line in the water.  Jerry bit, and had he not seen Lise, he would have stayed with this “sugar mama” until they both yearned for greener pastures.  But though they acted out their parts under the veneer of commerce, they both knew the deal, so I have to like them both for their subtle honesty.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  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 get the impression that since the studio had insisted that the film not get made on location, there was no choice but to stylize the set design.  The Toulouse Lautrec-esque set design in the final ballet had to stand in STARK contrast to the rest of the film to lend the dreamy nature to the sequence.  I suspect that had the majority of the film been shot on location around the actual Seine, Montmartre, etc, the final ballet would have looked remarkable.

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

I feel that Jerry's cocksure-ness is meant as a presentation as "the ugly American"; the American ExPat after the war, confident of his fairly bland abilities (he's an artist in Paris, why are his pictures so boring), overly confident in his skills wooing women (I have to believe his behavior toward Lise in 2018 would be considered stalking worthy of a protection order!) His big smiley grin makes him appealing to Milo, so we are drawn to like him as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The ballet sequence is a fantasy, as if a painter would have designed the "mise-en-scene."  Colors and shapes are exaggerated as opposed to the real-life settings of Paris.  

His interaction with the 3rd year student has probably been a type of encounter he has had in his stay in Paris.  He could care less about their opinions and sees them as just "sophisticated" college girls trying to impress him.  His interaction with Milo is a tad more gentlemanly.  She perhaps is his equal intellectually and they could carry on a conversation.   She does show an interest in two of his paintings and that may have sparked something in Jerry to treat Milo different than the student.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us