Must-See Cinema! The Gershwin music! The Kelly moves!
A musical both ludicrously overpraised (especially in Hollywood) and underrated. The script is admittedly lax, while the Gershwin numbers defer to too many contradictory performing styles (Levant and Guetary) and can be patronisingly twee (Kelly with the children in ‘I Got Rhythm’). But there are ecstatic moments, like Kelly’s jazz eruption into the ballet as Toulouse-Lautrec’s Chocolat, his pas-de-deux with Caron on the riverbank, his solo to ‘S’Wonderful’. And finally of course there is the climactic American in Paris ballet, which places dancers against backdrops pastiched from the paintings of Dufy, Renoir, Utrillo, Rousseau, Van Gogh, Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec. There are those who describe this as vulgar or pretentious, forgetting that the story is about Kelly as a frustrated artist. The sequence, besides being colourful, invigorating, ambitious, is also entirely appropriate to Minnelli’s interest in his characters’ emotions. To criticise this merging of form with content, of style with meaning – especially in a filmmaker whose principal desire seems to have been to excite the senses – seems unwarranted.
– Geoff Andrews, Time Out Film Guide
A rare screening! On loan from Warner Bros. in Burbank, California and must be returned.