|An American in Paris|
|Directed by||Vincente Minnelli|
|Produced by||Arthur Freed|
|Written by||Alan Jay Lerner|
|Edited by||Adrienne Fazan|
|Distributed by||Loew's Inc.|
|Box office||$7 million|
An American in Paris is a 1951 American musical comedy film inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition An American in Paris by George Gershwin. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron (her film debut), Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary, and Nina Foch, the film is set in Paris, and was directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner. The music is by George Gershwin, with lyrics by his brother Ira, with additional music by Saul Chaplin, the music director.
The story of the film is interspersed with dance numbers choreographed by Gene Kelly and set to Gershwin's music. MGM executive Arthur Freed bought the Gershwin musical catalog from George's brother Ira in the late 1940s, since George died in 1937. Some of the tunes in this catalog were included in the movie, such as "I Got Rhythm" and "Love Is Here to Stay". Other songs in the movie include "I'll Build A Stairway to Paradise" and "'S Wonderful". The climax of the film is "The American in Paris" ballet, a 17-minute dialogue-free dance featuring Kelly and Caron set to Gershwin's An American in Paris. The ballet sequence cost almost half a million dollars to shoot. It was filmed on 44 sets in MGM's back lot.
An American in Paris was an enormous success, garnering eight Academy Award nominations and winning six (including Best Picture), as well as earning other industry honors. In 1993, it was selected for preservation by the United States Library of Congress in the National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It is ranked number nine among AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals.
According to Leslie Caron in a 2009 interview on Paul O'Grady's interview show the film ran into controversy with the Hays Office over part of her dance sequence with a chair; the censor viewing the scene called it "sexually provocative", which surprised Caron who answered "What can you do with a chair?"