Tag Archives: love stories

Classic Chick Flicks ~ Gigi

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Gigi (1958) is a romantic comedy musical adapted from the French novella, written by Colette. I have recently read it and was intrigued when I found that this film had been made. The story is set in turn of the century Paris ( 1900), where society seems to revolve round men taking mistresses and women aspiring to become them. Leslie Caron plays the young and carefree ‘Gigi’, who lives with her Grandmother ‘ Madame Alvarez’ and her mother , an opera singer , who we often hear practising her singing but never actually see.

Louis Jordan is the rich and charming ‘Gaston’, a family friend who becoming bored of the playboy lifestyle, finds himself spending more time drinking camomile tea with Madame Alvarez and playing cards with the refreshingly naive yet mischievous Gigi.

Gigi with her friends.
Gigi with her friends.
Gaston loves nothing better than getting beaten at cards by Gigi.
Gaston loves nothing better than getting beaten at cards by Gigi.
Eva Gabor plays Gastons cheating mistress Leanne.
Eva Gabor plays Gastons cheating mistress Leanne.

Every week Gigi visits her Great Aunt Alicia ( Madame A’s sister) for lessons in etiquette and charm ( something she is not very good at! ). Her elder relatives believe she will eventually need these attributes if she is to become a celebrated mistress like her Aunt. Meanwhile Gaston has discovered his own mistress ‘Leanne’ has been unfaithful , and promises to take Gigi and her Grandmother to the coast after Gigi wins a wager at cards. The three enjoy a weekend by the sea where they bump into Gastons uncle ( Maurice Chevalier) who quite often pops up in the film ( somewhat annoyingly ) to give Gaston advice on how to be the perfect playboy.

Gigi fooling about playing tennis with Gaston.
Gigi fooling about playing tennis with Gaston.
Aunt alicia shows Gigi the types of jewels that are acceptable presents off admirers.
Aunt alicia shows Gigi the types of jewels that are acceptable presents off admirers.
And how to choose a gentlemans cigars.
And how to choose a gentlemans cigars.

When Aunt Alicia finds out about the seaside trip she is furious and points out to her sister that Gaston surely has feelings for Gigi and that her lessons and wardrobe need to be stepped up at once. Unaware of what’s going on, but delighted at the prospect of some new grown up gowns Gigi spends more time learning how to become a lady. Comparisons to My Fair Lady here, even down to the Cecil Beaton designs.

That ruffle is not a good look Gigi !
That ruffle is not a good look Gigi !
Gaston doesn't react well to Gigi's change of image.
Gaston doesn’t react well to Gigi’s change of image.

Visiting Madame Alvarez once again, Gaston is amazed at the transformation in Gigi who suddenly stands before him as a sophisticated young woman. Yet the change has disturbed him and he storms out , realising as he stomps the streets of Paris, that he has fallen in love. Returning to the apartment he asks that Gigi become his mistress and promises her a life of luxury and kindness. Initially Gigi rejects Gaston ( though she now knows she is in love with him too, she has spent time reading about all his mistresses , along with the rest of Paris), but then decides that she would rather be miserable with him than without him and accompanies him on their first date as a couple.

On their date at Maxims.
On their date at Maxims.

Gigi puts all her Grandmothers lessons into practice on their date at Maxims which instead of pleasing Gaston, only makes him uncomfortable. Happily it then dawns on him that actually he doesn’t want Gigi to be his mistress after all. He wants her to be his wife. Hurrah. πŸ™‚ The film ends with the happily married couple strolling in the park ~ looking very much in love.

The Happy Couple.
The Happy Couple.

I really enjoyed the book and the movie especially the fact that despite all the meddling our heroine was able to marry for love….and not become just a mistress with a pouch full of expensive jewels from long gone lovers.

Have you read any stories by Colette?

Classic Chick Flicks ~ Rebecca.

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Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine star in Rebecca.
Lawrence Olivier and Joan Fontaine star in Rebecca.

‘ Last night I dream’t I went to Manderley again’ is the famous first line of Daphne Du Maurier’s novel ‘Rebecca’ … and the first line in the 1940 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. This spooky love story is one of my favourite classic films. A young woman ( Joan Fontaine) falls for the charming Maxim De Winter ( Olivier), while’st working as a paid companion to a rather snobby lady holidaying in Europe. After a whirlwind courtship they marry and he takes her back to his family home in Cornwall , the sprawling gothic manor, Manderley.

Meeting in Monte Carlo.
Meeting in Monte Carlo.
Manderley.
Manderley.

Getting used to married life and helping run a large estate is hindered by the domineering presence of the housekeeper Mrs Danvers. She favors Maxims first wife, the bewitchingly beautiful Rebecca, who died in mysterious circumstances. Mrs Danvers does everything she can to make the new lady of the manor ( we never find out her name strangely) feel gauche and inferior in comparison.

Maybe this dress will impress Maxim do you think? Mrs Danvers said so.
Maybe this dress will impress Maxim do you think? Mrs Danvers said so.
Whose that behind you........
Whose that behind you……..

With Manderley full of memories and maybe even ghosts of the deceased Rebecca and Maxim distracted by some dreadful secret, our heroine certainly has a tough time of it. Hitchcock, a master of suspense as always will keep you gripped and enthralled until the firer’y finale.

Do you have a favourite Hitchcock film?