An American in Paris (1951) was a landmark film in the careers of Vincente Minnelli, Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. A joyous celebration of George Gershwin's music, French art, the beauty of dance and the fabled City of Light, the film was heralded as a rare example of entertainment 'for mass and class alike'. Choreographed by Kelly at the height of his career, it gave new stature to the Hollywood musical, and showcased as never before the artistic ambition, technical skills, creative imagination and collaborative ethos of MGM's pioneering Arthur Freed Unit.
Sue Harris draws on archival material to trace the film's development from conception to screen. Offering new insights into the design process in particular, she shows how An American in Paris established the cinematic template for a city with which Hollywood would become increasingly infatuated in the decades to follow.
Sue Harris is Reader in French Cinema at Queen Mary University of London, UK. She is an Associate Editor of French Cultural Studies, the author of Bertrand Blier (2001) and co-editor of France in Focus: Film and National Identity (2000) and From Perversion to Purity: The Stardom of Catherine Deneuve (2007), among other titles.
Acknowledgments.- 1. 'Who knows, it may even put Paris on the map'.- 2. The Building Blocks of Production 1507.- 3: Paris, Culver City.- 4. Camaraderie, Community and Romance.- 5. The Ballet.- 6. Promotion, Reception, Legacy.- Conclusion.- Notes.- Credits.- Bibliography.