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

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I believe the movie tells the story about a regular guy going through his day-to-day life and the motions of living and trying to become a legitimate painter. As he does this, his love for Caron is growing. Through her support he becomes better. The story builds to the end where she turns away form him and he fantasizes about how life might be with her and the ballet begins-a fantasy that becomes real at the end.

Jerry Mulligan seems to be an honest person at this point, amiable with those he sees on the street until the 3rd year student comes along and criticizes his paintings, unsolicited. He mentions not knowing the worth of his paintings and even asks his patron, " Are you sure you know what you're doing?" when she buys his paintings

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

Q1) Yes, I think it does need to be less-than-realistic, stylized approach throughout the film.  In a sense this film in some ways is more about art than anything.  In that case using the lesser approach allows for all types of art to be used in a variety of ways.  For example, you have the ballet scene, which wouldn't necessarily show up in other musicals as it doesn't flow with the rest of the movie.  I feel like Vincente Minelli was trying to paint this movie rather than directing it.  It was flowing from him in a way that allowed for expressionism and realism to coincide together.

Q2) He definitely acts like the angry American in this scene.  I think the only thing that keeps him from being unlikeable is the conversation he has with the young painter across the street as well as the other stops he made along the way to visit with other painters.  

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Jerry is not unlikable.  Jerry is human and reacts like any one of us would.  The most telling statement is his comment about "if you tell me you like it nothing will change and if you tell me you don't like it, that will just bother me."  Before she approaches him he is happy and purposefully moving along and chatting with the locals.  Then this woman shows up and obviously acts like she trying to impress by speaking French and he, being a little more worldly, sees that she is just trying to "show off".  As a result, he becomes annoyed.  Who wouldn't?  Interestingly, though, when the "older" more sophisticated woman begins a discussion, he has a much different reaction to her comments about the paintings.  And that was before she even offered to buy them.  Is his result because of her age, or does he see something else that he didn't see in the "third-year" coed? We don;t know and can only surmise but he DID seem to become the affable Jerry again. 

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1.  The movie is based in real life for the most part, but the ballet is the fantasy that Gene Kelly has about Leslie Caron, which is the epic ballet scene at the end. 

2.  Gene Kelly potrays an artist who knows his worth, and doesn't let the people who claim to know about art bother him.  He is presenting a stoic side of him even though, he is protecting himself from criticism. 

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1. The ballet is unrealistic, but appropriate.

2. I don't think he unlikable just very blunt and honest. Quite American  for the Parisian setting.

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1) I would say that the way it's filmed is fine for me, nothing really too out of place, including how the scene was shot, it plays on how a normal day in Paris is like.

2) He comes off way to strong and blunt, he's cynical and kinda arrogant. As we watch the scene we see how he acts to a total stranger as they look over his paintings then told her to just leave, then in the next scene he says how they are American college kids as if they are a bother. 

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1.  I think a stylized dance sequence is fairly common in musicals and doesn't seem too out of place.  It's done on 42nd street, Oklahoma, etc.  I think it usually is tied in as a daydream or dream sequence.  I don't think musical audiences are really too worried about realism to be honest. I think they are good at suspending disbelief to just enjoy the singing and the dancing. 

2.  I think the fact that he is funny and has an american accent makes it seem like part of his character. So even though he is being gruff with customers the viewer has a tendency to forgive him that. 

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1. The ballet ending is a lengthy fantasy from Jerry about his relationship with Lisa and so it's stylized nature, with the gorgeous eye-popping colors, magnificent costumes and elaborate dance numbers is made all the more effective by being prefaced with a setting that's placed more in reality (though Vincente Minelli always manages to make every setting stand out in some way). One of the ingenious ways he prepares us for the ballet sequence is by having most of the preceding scene (the ball) filled with only black and white costumes and mise en scene so the colors pop even more, adding to the fantastical nature of the ballet.

2. It is 100% Gene Kelly's natural charisma and charm that keeps Jerry Mulligan likable, not only in that scene specifically, but throughout the rest of the movie where he pursues Lisa in pretty alarming ways. It's the power in Gene Kelly's acting and stage presence that his character is still incredibly likable despite his words and actions. 

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On ‎6‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 9:16 AM, MsAllieB said:

1-The most telling clue that this scene gives us in terms of a new, or "backwards" classical musical" number is clearly the fact that we don't get to SEE a musical number. The clarinetist boy is instantly cut off, no one finishes their song or dance, no choreography, no big sing, we don't get to see a good number, or even a bad number in full, there is in fact is NO musical number...in a musical...which is on a stage...with a ton of performers..in costume, ready...to perform..."let me entertain you" but later...much later...

2-Russell's entrance is big and full, nothing is small, this is a STAGE entrance, both literally onto an actual stage within the film, but also bigger than many film musicals would have done prior. In the 40s or 50s we might have had more filmic set up, a close up of Mamma Rose maybe listening at the door, peeking through the cracks to see her daughters, an eye trying to spy close up, but here we get a full on entrance, full body, full voice. The costuming leaps from the character, and it is no coincidence I am sure that she is in full leopard print, a jungle cat who will cut and kill anyone who goes near her baby cubs. In addition, the carrying in of a dog on one arm and a large leopard purse on the other has literally "armed her" with animal camouflage, she bites, and so too might her dog, so don't mess with her, don't come too close. Russell also uses her stage and film training to project her voice like a stage actress, she throws it across the room in a stage style, projecting as a performer, and as a Mamma who WILL be heard.

3-Our obvious go-to here are the double-entendre lyrics, a genius set-up of foreshadowing, "let me entertain you" now...and later...Louise is listening to these lyrics, living them as a second party, but taking them in for later use..."tricks" is the big word here, from magic to fun, from burlesque to stripper. Louise's "trick" could actually be considered as a suggestive finger movement, a small wiggle, a tiny accent that suggests more. High kicks with lots of crinolines and petticoats is one thing, those kicks without those costuming bits can and will reveal much more. The song also gives a finite time line "by the time I'm through..." something will change by the end of the song, there will be a transformation to the person WATCHING the number, genius set up of how someone watching will go from one state...to another...in a short period of time...very sly, very witty. 

Perceptive comments, MsAllieB, but they appear to be about "Gypsy." This is the "American in Paris" thread. You should post this in the Gypsy thread, as it is an excellent post. 

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23 minutes ago, tshawcross said:

Perceptive comments, MsAllieB, but they appear to be about "Gypsy." This is the "American in Paris" thread. You should post this in the Gypsy thread, as it is an excellent post. 

Hi-yes I realized only after I posted this so I did repost in the "Gypsy" thread, I could not figure out how to erase this completely, I went to "edit" but it would only let me alter, but not erase, is there a way to delete? And thank you!

 

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4 minutes ago, MsAllieB said:

Hi-yes I realized only after I posted this so I did repost in the "Gypsy" thread, I could not figure out how to erase this completely, I went to "edit" but it would only let me alter, but not erase, is there a way to delete? And thank you!

 

I don't know if posts can be deleted, but I don't suppose it matters, since you have also posted it in the Gypsy thread, which I shall read next. Good post!

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

I feel like he always has a smile on his face and is friendly to everyone. However, when that first girl came to look at his work, he was less than appreciative of her criticism. Which is understandable. However, when the second girl came he spoke his opinion and that was appealing to that women. She appreciated his honesty. 

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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 don’t think so.  I’ve always thought of the ballet sequence as a dream sequence and therefore it makes sense that’s it’s less than realistic and more stylized than the rest of the movie.

2.     What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable?  I think it’s because Gene Kelley had such a natural charm and charisma, so it’s nearly impossible for him to be unlikeable on film.  Doris Day had the same effect/appeal. 

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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?

  • Not necessarily. After all, this isn't a documentary. The film is fairly stylized throughout. So in a way, it matches the ending ballet.

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

  • Not much. ? For me, it is the knowledge that he is trying to bluster his way through his disappointments and relative lack of success up to this point.

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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 like the less-than-realistic approach throughout the film. It provides a nice contrast to allow the viewer to focus on the story while the characters can act out their dreams and fantasy.  This approach helps keep the story in perspective.

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

The only thing that keeps Jerry from being completely unlikeable is when he is finally sees that the woman has money and when the car and chauffer pull up, Jerry finally acts a little humble towards her.

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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?

There probably has to be a balance. If the entire film is highly stylized there's nothing to contrast it with. If too realistic the leap to a spectacular finale would probably be too much of a stretch; more jarring than it should be. Maybe.
 

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

I don't think he's unlikeable at all. But, I like cynical, wary people. So, perspective would be one answer. Perhaps it's his own pretensions reflected in others that he reacts so negatively to. In the end, he's a mixed bag and that's what could make him likable. Aren't we all, really?

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The ballet scene had a unique style to the film, a fantasy style number that brings a dream like look to it. Minnelli had a way to his films that he brought out all the elements that would make his films as iconic as they have been all these years. From technicolor, camera angles, costumes, and the lights to bring out the highlights from the films. Realism is a fair point in productions, but audience comes to watch films to get away from the things in their world that is tiresome and into a world of fantasy and amusement.

Kelly has a charisma appearance that can be seen in all his films, he can be as charming or prideful and just as convincing as both at the same time. Although he starts off stand offish like an independent artist of that time, til he met Caron character and he becomes infatuated with her and he shed his pride away. But with his financier who offered to help him keep food on his table, clothes oh his back and his work gets the light as it deserves, though he act like a prude to her, especially her advances which was self explanatory, but he could have toned it down a notch.

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I have always viewed this film as a fantasy of sorts, a deliberately stylized version of what Americans viewed as the Parisian way of life in the post WWII era.  I suspect that the ballet sequence at the end of this film inspired the "Broadway Melody" fantasy sequence in Singing In The Rain the following year with Kelly and Cyd Charisse.

Gene Kelly had a certain charm, or charisma if you will, that made his characters likeable, no matter how much the writers tried to make them otherwise.  If you think Jerry Mulligan acts unlikeable in this clip, try him as E.K. Hornbeck (a fictionalized H.L. Mencken) in Inherit The Wind.  No matter what, that charm always works.

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1. The movie is realistic but the ballet is like a dream sequence, a little mystic not to over play the music by George Gershwin. Wonderful scene the ballet.

2. I think Jerry Mulligan is likable to those he wants to be liked by. He definitely is hiding something and not really making it in Paris. He is a snobby artist. Do not waste my time, I want a sale. 

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Daily Dose# 12

  • 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 must agree that “An American in Paris” was an extravagant bonanza with melodious songs, vibrant dance sequences and myriad of wonderful settings. It seems like a painting has come back to life. At the same time, we could not make this movie a whimsical affair with lively dance sequences. The director knew that the audience need to know about the real Paris and that’s why he shot the scenes with Jerry through the street corners of Paris with realism. 

 

  • What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? Jerry is a likeable person as we see that he chats along with the other painters he come across. Well, he know that certain “Third Year Students” would come to criticise his paintings. Eventually, he shoos them away just like how we shoos bothering pigeons away. When Milo comes along, he knew that she was O.K.

 

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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 am not sure.  The OCD in me says yes it should be consistent. But on the other hand, it might be a good change up.  
     

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

  • I think the fact that he is all business but doesn't want his work to be criticized by someone unqualified.  

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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? No, it is a way to show fantasy within that scene.  The stylistic approach has that Parisian effect throughout the film.
 

What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable? He didn't seem unlikable to me but I can see why someone could think that.  He has the personality of a confident artist, and doesn't waste time with small talk.  Trying to find someone who appreciates his work, and making a living.  

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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?

For continuity’s  sake…no…for emphasis… yes

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

For me it is the fact he is being true to himself as is revealed in the scene a little later. At first it seems he is cocky and self- absorbed but then he hasn’t even thought about the price of his work…it’s possible he was in doubt of any one purchasing…considering how he feels about the quality of work he is producing… humble enough to know more is required.

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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?  Yes, the stylized approach gives the contrast of Jerry Mulligan’s “real life” scenes and the fantasy ballet ending. The artistic undertones help the audience accept the setting is Paris and that he is in the art district of the city. Jerry surveys the other artists work and goes about his walk in a energetic upbeat fashion even though we are shown in the conversation with Milo he is nearly broke asking for a cigarette because doesn’t have the money for them.

What keeps Jerry Mulligan from being completely unlikeable in a scene in which he acts pretty darn unlikeable?  I don’t agree that he is completely unlikeable in the scene as he has respectful friendly interaction with the fellow artists along his daily walk to display his paintings. We are shown he is just an average guy trying to make something of himself through his art. He is not confident when he is speaking about his art with Milo, surprised that she wants to buy two paintings and for the amount she offered.  Yet his comment at the car was a bit off the cuff, making him appear a bit cocky. He is defensive with the art student as she is only there to critique his work as in a classroom or museum setting. She has a bit of a “know it all” attitude as someone that isnt’ living within the culture of Paris, but for the purpose of saying she experienced culture of Paris. 

 

 

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