Springing to vivid life in splendid Technicolor are two of Warner Bros finest musicals from the 1950’s, An American in Paris and Gigi, respectfully. Both directed by Vincent Minnelli in 1951 and 1958, both films embody the kind of exhilarating extravagance of the Hollywood musical and deliver on every level.
The first film, An American in Paris, tells the story of an ex-gi (Gene Kelly) in Paris who falls in love with an engaged shop clerk (Leslie Caron). The second film, Gigi, shows the life of Gaston (Louis Jordan) who attempts to win the affections of a Madame, Gigi (Leslie Caron), through delicacies and culture, however Gigi is looking for something more. Both films feature Minnelli’s and Adolph Green’s distinct style and remarkable ability to tell stories through song and dance, which has made them some of the greatest American Musical classics of all time.
Warner Bros has taken special care in the releases of both of these titles to Blu-ray in both the technical and extras department. Both film display beautifully rich, textured restorations and transfers to Blu-ray, however given the saturated Technicolor frames there is often a great deal of noise and slight movement in the colors. Perhaps this is less noticeable on a larger screen, but this is assuredly the best these films are going to look on the Blu-ray format.
In the extras department both discs are packed with features that generously befit their film counterparts. An American in Paris features a commentary hosted by Patricia Ward Kelly, Leslie Caron and Nina Foch with unheard audio interviews from all the films principle cast and crew, documentaries such as ‘S Wonderful: The Making of an American in Paris and American Masters Career Profile Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer, vintage shorts, a cartoon, and a series of Audio and Sequence outtakes from the film, and the Theatrical Trailer.
Gigi features an equally verbose array of extras which feature a commentary by Leslie Caron and Jeanine Basinger, a new documentary Thank Heaven! The Making of Gigi, vintage shorts, a cartoon, Theatrical Trailer, and perhaps the best extra being the complete 1949 French Non-Musical version of Gigi (transferred from the only existing print!).
A sheer delight for film buffs and casual viewers alike, this beautiful double feature, housed in even more beautiful Blu-ray discs, definitely deserves a dance with you tonight!