Finally breaking the record number of Academy Awards won by Gone With The Wind, Vincente Minnelli’s scrumptious MGM musical took home nine Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Based on Colette’s short story of a petite Parisienne groomed by her grandmother and great aunt to be a courtesan in the family tradition, Gigi was created for the screen with a witty songbook commissioned from Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe.
Favourites include Thank Heaven For Little Girls and I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore (both sung by the ultimate boulevardier, Maurice Chevalier, in a career rebirth), and the droll Chevalier-Hermione Gingold duet shakily recollecting a long-ago liaison, I Remember It Well.
Leslie Caron is a perfect delight as the coltish child, suffering lessons in etiquette, coquetry, seduction, and gem valuation before her sudden, inevitable transformation into a poised and desirable young woman.
Louis Jourdan is just divine as the bored man-about-town tunefully perplexed by the depth of his feelings for her.
Paris never looked lovelier (authentic locations include the Bois de Boulogne, the Tuileries, and swank mecca Maxim’s), and Cecil Beaton’s costumes rival his work on Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady (1964).