Thursday, April 05, 2007

Musical Parody II: American in Paris

Here's your guide to what the subtext of all the musical numbers from American in Paris are
(note: I still am a big fan of this film, even if it appears I'm not):

Background: American in Paris was a Vincente Minelli musical which represented the height of MGM's Golden Era of Musicals winning the best picture award at the Oscars in 1951. It starred Gene Kelly and was notable for its all-Gerswhin format, the comic grouchiness of Oscar Levant as the piano player, the newly discovered Leslie Caron, and the unconventional narrative technique of ending a movie on a ballet number rather than through anything happening with the plot.

By Strauss:
Henri: I'm a musical snob. I can't appreciate American art forms like jazz and that's why, audience, you should root for Jerry to get the girl
Jerry: I'm singing along, but this whole bashing-of-American-music number was the Frenchman's idea

I've Got Rhythm:
Jerry: Hey kids, I've got great news! I'm either going to get laid or someone wants to buy my pictures! I don't know which but it's a win-win situation either way! Let's celebrate!

Our Love is Here to Stay:
Jerry: You're beautiful, I'm in love with you. Let's get together.
Lise: What the hell are you doing? I'm in the middle of dancing with someone else
Jerry: I'm sorry, maybe you weren't notified. I'm Gene Kelley, the star of this film and every other MGM film and I hold all the clout here. I even was the one who cast you. So let's get together
Lise: Um, well I appreciate all that, but i don't really like you

Jerry: Adam, I'm in love!
Adam: Shut up, I'm trying to play the piano, here.
Jerry: Adam, I'm in love, Tra-la-la.
Adam: That's just lame, now go away.
Jerry: Hey, do I need to remind you, I'm Gene Kelly?
Adam: Ok, fine, let's just get this song over with.

Our Love is Here to Stay (reprise):
Jerry: Let's try this again. You're beautiful, I'm in love with you. Let's get together.
Lise: Oh, you're THAT Gene Kelley. Fine, whatever, let's get together.
Jerry: That's better.

Stairway to Paradise:
Henri: OK, audience, I've decided to stop becoming a musical stiff and in order to win you over, I've decided to adopt your American music. Then again, I'm butchering this Gerswhin number with my French accent, so I'm not sure if that's a good thing

's Wonderful:
Henri: I'm such a fool in love
Jerry: I'm such a fool in love
Adam: Not only are you fools, you're both complete idiots because you don't know you're singing about the same girl, but at least it moves the plot along. I'll just tuck away, so you two can discover this on your own.

The American in Paris Ballet:
[Lise decides to go with Henri]
Audience: Wow, I thought she'd end up with Gene Kelly because that's how these movies usually end, but Henri's a good guy too, I'm satisfied.
Jerry: Hey, what the hell is going on? I'm Gene Kelly. I'm beautiful and my dancing's unbeatable. This movie's not supposed to end without me getting the girl. I refuse to let this happen. I'm going to keep dancing until something's done about this ending.
[Dances for 13 minutes]
Henri and Lise: Ok, you win.
Audience: That was wierd and didn't make sense.
Critics: Ending a movie on a nonsensical ballet number. Brilliant!

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