An American in Paris. 1951. USA. Directed by Vincente Minnelli. 113 min.
Screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner. Music by George and Ira Gershwin. With Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Nina Foch. Vincente Minnelli's canonical musical is an exhilarating interpretation of the Gershwin songbook, starring Gene Kelly as a bohemian expatriate living in Montmartre on the G.I. Bill, and painting in anonymity, while romantically torn between the beautiful and gamine Leslie Caron and his benefactress, the rich and stable art collector Nina Foch. The film's climactic 17-minute ballet sequence is one of the most expensive and sophisticated dance numbers ever produced in Hollywood. Choreographed, and directed in part, by Gene Kelly, and ingeniously photographed by John Alton, it features Kelly and Caron in a pas de deux on sets that magically transform themselves into paintings by masters of French modernism, Dufy, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Rousseau, and Utrillo. 35mm print from the Academy Film Archive; courtesy Warner Bros.