Jerry Mulligan (Gene Kelly) served in the United States military during World War II, but after the conflict ended, he remained in Paris. He fell in love with Paris and couldn’t bring himself to leave, so now he resides there and tries to earn his keep as an artist, with lackluster results. Mulligan lives alone in a small apartment, though his best friend and fellow starving artist Adam (Oscar Levant) lives right next to him. When Mulligan first sees a beautiful young perfume shop girl named Lise (Leslie Caron), he falls head over heels on the spot. But Mulligan doesn’t find out until later that not only is she engaged, but she is to wed a successful artist, a musician named Henri (Georges Guetary). Jerry soon meets a rich woman who wants to have him as a kept man, but will the pull of true love be too much?
An American in Paris united a stellar ensemble of talent, both in front of and behind the cameras. Vincente Minnelli was in the director’s chair, Alan Jay Lerner wrote story, Ira Gershwin handled the lyrics, while Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron starred, quite an impressive collection indeed. An American in Paris would delight both audiences and critics alike, winning six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. I am not much on musicals, but for fans of this genre, An American in Paris is loaded with the kind of musical numbers that are sure to please. Kelly is his usual self, which means enthusiasm galore and his dance moves are spot on, while Caron provides a great female counterpart. The musical elements overpower the plot, which runs a little thin at times, but the song & dance is what draws here, so no real concerns there. Warner’s Special Edition makes the previous releases obsolete, so for fans, this two disc release is the own to check out.
Video: How does it look?
An American in Paris is presented in full frame, as intended.This new transfer looks very good, but some scenes still look a little rough around the edges. The image is solid, but detail isn’t all that remarkable, even for an “ultra resolution” version, as the case so boldly proclaims. Some scenes do look excellent however, but the visuals aren’t consistent, so expect some variance. At least the colors look fantastic, with rich hues that add so much. I saw no trouble with contrast either, so while this transfer isn’t up to an elite level, it still looks good.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio is presented via the original mono track, which offers an adequate audio experience. Given the limitations of the mono format, this sounds quite good, better than most tracks of this type. The music sounds good, and the dialogue is crisp and well separated. This release also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, French, Japanese, and Thai.
Supplements: What are the extras?
An audio commentary features a wealth of interviews, spliced together to provide an insightful, multi perspective look back at the production. I prefer screen specific sessions, but this is a more than solid, informative inclusion. Next are two bonus shorts, the live action Paris on Parade and the animated Symphony in Slang. ‘S Wonderful is an over forty minute piece about An American in Paris, with worthwhile interviews. Not as in depth as some of course, but a good featurette with some great insight. American Masters: Gene Kelly is an eighty-four minute look at the career of of the man himself, in depth and a must see for fans. This release also includes some song outtakes, radio promos, and the film’s theatrical trailer.