’S wonderful! ’S marvellous! ’S a teensy bit smug! Yes, Vincente Minnelli’s groundbreaking, breathtaking musical returns to the screens in a spanking new print, giving a new generation of viewers the chance to admire Gene Kelly in a puce body stocking. He plays Gerry Mulligan, a brash, goodhearted ex-GI turned painter torn between love and career. The great things remain great – Kelly’s effortless grace, Leslie Caron’s extraordinary face, Gershwin’s style-splicing score and Minnelli’s eye-ravishing colour palette. But time has not been wholly kind to ‘An American in Paris’: some of the early scenes can be a little self-satisfied and boys’-clubbish, while the love triangle between 39-year-old Kelly, his older rival Georges Guetary and the impossibly youthful 19-year-old Caron feels a mite creepy. It’s all brought together beautifully in that timeless, endlessly inventive fantasy ballet sequence – but even that feels a little cool and calculating compared to its passionate progenitor in Michael Powell’s ‘The Red Shoes’. Imperfect, then, but intermittently awe-inspiring.
Cast and crew