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An American in Paris, Gigi - Special Editions in September

06/20/2008 | by David Greenstreet

**Warner** has announced a Septempber 16th release date for two Special Editions: An American in Paris (Special Edition) and Gigi (Special Edition).  Each 2-Disc DVD release will retail for $20.97, but each can be purchased here at Classicflix.com for only $15.99. Details below.


An American in Paris (Special Edition)
An American in Paris is “one of the greatest, most elegant, and most celebrated of M-G-M’s 50s musicals” (filmsite.org). Legendary producer Arthur Freed developed the film based on George Gershwin’s celebrated 1928 orchestral work, and assembled a stellar team of talents to bring forth what would become a landmark film. With Alan Jay Lerner crafting an original screenplay around the songs of George and Ira Gershwin, Vincente Minnelli directing and Gene Kelly starring (and choreographing) with newcomer Leslie Caron, the results were, and still are, unforgettable. More than two dozen Gershwin songs are used throughout the film, including such favorites as “Love Is Here to Stay,” “I Got Rhythm,” “‘S Wonderful” and “Embraceable You.” Add to this a mix of lavish sets and costumes, tremendous Technicolor cinematography, a romantic love story and a climactic show-stopping ballet, and you’ve got a film that easily captured six Oscar wins (including Best Picture, Director and Music). An American in Paris also holds the distinction of being the first musical to win a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical).

The plot revolves around ex-GI Jerry Mulligan (Kelly), a struggling American painter in Paris, who is discovered by an influential heiress (Nina Foch) with an interest in more than Jerry’s art. Jerry in turn falls for Lise (Caron), a young French girl already engaged to a cabaret singer. Jerry jokes, sings and dances with his best friend, an acerbic would-be concert pianist (Oscar Levant), and romantic complications abound.

BONUS FEATURES:

DISC 1:
  • 1938 MGM short: Paris on Parade
  • 1951 MGM cartoon: Symphony in Slang
  • Theatrical trailer
DISC 2:
  • 2002 American Masters Documentary: Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer
  • ‘S Wonderful: The Making of An American in Paris, an all new documentary, produced especially for this release. A dynamic history of the making of the film, which reveals how George and Ira Gershwin’s classic songs, the dazzling art of the French impressionists and the ultimate teamwork of MGM’s legendary “Freed Unit” came together to create a musical masterpiece. Featuring ten new interviews, including co-stars Leslie Caron and Nina Foch
  • Outtakes: Georges Guetary performing Love Walked In and Gene Kelly performing I Got a Crush on You (audio only)
  • Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron promotional radio interview with Dick Simmons
  • Love Walked In Outtake
  • Audio Outtakes
  • Alternate Main Title
    • But Not for Me Guetary
    • Leslie Caron
    • But Not for Me Levant Piano Solo
    • Gershwin Prelude #3
    • I've Got a Crush on You
    • Nice Work if You Can Get It
    • 'S Wonderful
  • Radio Interviews
    • Johnny Green
    • Gene Kelly
    • Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron


Gigi (Special Edition)
For nearly a decade Arthur Freed hoped to make a musical film based on Colette’s enchanting novel “Gigi,” but he garnered little support from the M-G-M brass. That changed after the opening of My Fair Lady in early 1956. The show was an immediate smash hit and went on to a record-breaking theatrical run but didn’t get to the screen until 1964. So when Freed came up with the idea of assembling some of the same My Fair Lady creative team -- lyricist Alan Jay Lerner, composer Frederick Loewe and costumer Cecil Beaton -- he quickly received a green light to proceed with his project.

The plot, about a school girl who becomes a Frenchman’s mistress, was considered very risqué and daring for its time. Under the inspired and tasteful direction of Vincente Minnelli, however, the result was nothing short of a triumph --so much so that M-G-M opened the film in a legitimate Broadway theater, where it played on a reserved-seat basis like a new stage musical. The film became a hit all over the world and handily won every Academy Award category in which it was nominated -- Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (Lerner), Best Color Cinematography, Best Art/Set Direction, Best Song (“Gigi” by Lerner and Loewe), Best Musical Score (Andre Previn), Best Costume Design, and Best Editing. It was highly unusual that none of the excellent cast -- Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold, or Maurice Chevalier -- received acting nominations, although Chevalier, known for his singing of “Thank Heaven For Little Girls,” was presented with an honorary Oscar. Other delightful songs on the soundtrack include “I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore,” “The Night They Invented Champagne,” “I Remember it Well,” and of course, the title tune, “Gigi.” Considered by many the last of the great M-G-M musicals, the film was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Gigi tells the story of Gaston (Louis Jordan), a handsome playboy from a wealthy Parisian family, who finds emotional refuge from the superficial lifestyle of upper class Parisian 1900s society with the former mistress (Gingold) of his uncle (Maurice Chevalier) and her outgoing, tomboy granddaughter, Gigi (Leslie Caron). When Gaston becomes aware that Gigi has matured into a woman, her grandmother and aunt (Isabel Jeans), who have groomed Gigi to be a wealthy man’s mistress, encourage him to become her provider and try to persuade her to accept such a golden opportunity. However, love adds a surprise twist to this delightful turn-of-the 20th century Cinderella story.

BONUS FEATURES:

DISC 1:
  • The Million Dollar Nickel - 1952 MGM short
  • The Vanishing Duck - 1958 MGM cartoon
  • Theatrical Trailer
DISC 2:
  • Thank Heaven! The Making of Gigi - The story of how 1958's Best Picture winner (the last of the classic  MGM musicals) survived a turbulent production that included censorship battles over its daring content and creative struggles between a studio in turmoil and a demanding, visionary director.  Featuring an all-new interview with star Leslie Caron, and a rare interview with Oscar-winning director Minnelli.
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