Filled Under: *Movies Romance

“Gigi” – Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier

 

“This story is about a little girl. It could be about any one of those little girls playing there. But it isn’t. It’s about one in particular. Her name is Gigi.” ~ Honore Lachaille (Maurice Chevalier)

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Gigi (1958) - Original Poster

“Gigi” is a 1958 musical film produced by Arthur Freed and directed by Vincente Minnelli. The screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner is based on the 1944 novella of the same name by Colette. Set in turn-of-the-20th century Paris, a rich playboy Gaston Lachaille (Louis Jourdan) and a young courtesan-in-training Gigi (Leslie Caron) enjoy a platonic friendship. Gaston, the heir of a wealthy Parisian family enjoys refuge from the lifestyle of an upper class Parisian 1900s society with Madame Alvarez (Hermoine Gingold) who was the former mistress of his uncle Honore Lachaille (Maurice Chevalier) and her outgoing, tomboy granddaughter, Gigi. She enjoys spending time with Gaston, whom she regards as an elder brother. Madame Alvarez sends Gigi to her sister, Gigi’s Great Aunt Alicia to be groomed as a courtesan and learn etiquette and charm. The young girl initially is a very poor student who fails to understand the reasons behind her education. As Gaston becomes more aware that Gigi has matured into a woman, her grandmother Madame Alvare and great aunt Alicia, who have educated Gigi to be a wealthy man’s mistress, urge the pair to act out their roles as wealthy playboy and courtesan. Young Gigi, not thrilled with the outlook of a courtesan’s life, relunctantly agrees as she would rather be “miserable with him as miserable without him”, but as with all MGM musicals of that time love has a way of overcoming all.

“Gigi” (1958)  Trailer

 

Leslie Caron as Gigi

 

“Gigi” won what was at the time a record-breaking 9 Academy Awards at the 1959 Awards ceremony, including the Oscar for Best Picture and one for Best Director (Vincente Minelli). “Gigi” also won three Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy, for Best Dirctor (Vincente Minelli), and for Best Supporting Actress-Motion Picture (Hermione Gingold). Leslie Caron was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress-Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan were nominated for Golden Globes for Best Actor-Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

 

Louis Jourdan and Leslie Caron

 

In 1991, Gigi was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The American Film Institute ranked it #35 in AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Passions.

 

Isabel Jeans and Leslie Caron

 

Gigi is considered the last great MGM musical and the final great achievement of the Freed Unit, headed by producer Arthur Freed although he would go on to produce several more films, including the musical Bells Are Ringing in 1960.

 

Louis Jourdan Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier

 

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The Shop Around The Corner – Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart

 

Klara Novak: [In her letter to Alfred] :  “Oh, my Dear Friend, my heart was trembling as I walked into the post office, and there you were, lying in Box 237. I took you out of your envelope and read you, read you right there.”– from The Shop Around The Corner.

 

The Shop Around The Corner Theatrical Poster

 

I read somewhere once that if you don’t like old classic movies, then you’ve just never watched the right one. The Shop Around The Corner (MGM 1940), starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, would qualify as one of the right one’s to watch. It is set around Christmas time in a Budapest store, where co-workers Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan) and Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) have a great dislike for each other and are constantly bickering. What they don’t realize is that the more they fight, the more they fall in love as secret pen pals. The Shop Around The Corner also stars Frank Morgan as the shop owner Hugo Matuschek and a young William Tracy as the delivery boy Pepi Katona. A major sub-plot concerns the apparent infidelity of Mr. Matuschek’s wife and the effects it has on the shop’s co-workers relationships. The Shop Around The Corner is a movie well done with James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan well matched in their roles as Clara and Alfred, along with a great supporting cast.

 

Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart in "The Shop Around The Corner" (1940)

Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart in “The Shop Around The Corner” (1940)

In 1999, The Shop Around The Corner was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.  It is ranked #28 on the AFI’s (American Film Institute) list of the 100 best love stories of all time. In 1949, a musical remake called, In The Good Ole Summertime, starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson was made. The Shop Around The Corner was also the basis for the 1998 film, You’ve Got Mail, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, in which Meg Ryan’s character owns a bookshop called “The Shop Around The Corner”.

 

Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart — The Shop Around The Corner

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