An American in Paris DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

For its time An American in Paris really captured the mood.
  • OVERALL
    4.0
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
A classic film gets great treatment on DVD.
THE BAD
Having everything on two discs was a tad confusing...
THE FEATURE
An American in Paris is one of the movies that could best be described as an unabashed love story. Gene Kelly stars as artist Jerry Mulligan. He's an ex-GI who is in the romantic city of this film's title. Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron) is a woman engaged to be married who finds herself in the crosshairs of Kelly's love. What ensues are a lot of interesting complications, along with some well known Gershwin songs set around some amazing dance sequences in this 2 disc DVD set.

A movie like this today might or might not have a tough time finding an audience, but for its time An American in Paris really captured the mood.
THE EXTRAS
Disc 1

Commentary Track

Hosted by Patricia Ward Kelly this track features unheard interviews by the likes of Gene Kelly, Vincent Minelli, Arthur Freed, and Alan Jay Lerner among others. It also features a critical look at the film by Leslie Caron and Nina Foch. While I think there might be too many people on this track for its own good, it makes sense that Warner Bros. would do it this way. Chances are they didn't have enough audio from any one person to cover a 114 minutes. By doing things like this, we get a little bit more history as this film is revisited.

Disc 2

'S Wonderful: The Making of An American in Paris

This making of piece looks at what went into getting this movie created, lensed and then into theaters. Fans of the film and history buffs would do well to watch this. I say that because Warner Bros. always seems to do a good job with these kinds of things. Here the doc*mentary is well structured, the interviews are interesting and as always it's great to hear about what happened behind the scenes.

American Masters Career Profile Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer

Outtake Song Sequence

If you are a diehard fan of this film I would recommend checking out this section. Done for the number "Loved Walked In," we get to see how this scene might have looked had this piece of film been used. Like I said, something for the diehard fan but it is a nice touch.
THE VIDEO
Standard Version. Presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition. I have to give Warner Bros. credit for how good this movie looks. We are talking about a film that is 57 years old! While I know that being in black and white and standard definition might be a deal breaker in this Blu-ray world, I am going to stand up and say that we will always need the classics to be given the treatment that this release has gotten here.
THE AUDIO
Dolby Digital. English and French Mono. This movie sounded solid. I would expect that Warner Bros. would go the extra mile considering that this movie is a musical. I didn't have to turn the audio up that loud and I was able to hear everything. Again, home theater enthusiasts might balk but I rather like the way that things have been done here. Sometimes, it's better not to clean things up too much.
THE PACKAGE
Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron are showcased on the front of this red, white and blue cover. The back features two shots from this movie (one in color and the other in black and white), a small description of this film, a special features listing for both discs, a cast list and technical specs. The discs on this release are both neatly stored in one amaray case.
THE FINAL WORD
I had an interesting thought as I was writing this movie. What if a director like Francis Coppola, David Fincher or Martin Scorsese re-imagined it? What if a guy like John Cassavetes had done this? Lets take the movie and completely change it up. We first take out all the singing and dancing. We then take the Jerry Mulligan character, cast someone like Vincent Gallo in that role, and from there proceed to make this a brooding piece about a painter who meets a woman that he can't have. Instead of being light on its feet the movie goes dark and really looks at the complexity of relationships. This could forever change this film in regards to how it is looked at in cinema history. In fact, it could start a trend and even be done with other films...

Okay, this is something that is probably never going to happen but it sure is nice to have MovieWeb to voice my thoughts on why I think it should.

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