Tag Archives: musicals

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. 🙂 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?

Chick Flick Classics ~~ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

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” I just love finding new places to wear diamonds “ is a memorable line in the 1950’s Musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes that I rented recently. It stars Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe as showgirl best pals Dorothy and Lorelei, en route to a job in Paris , aboard a transatlantic cruise liner. Lorelei ( a captivating Marilyn Monroe) is engaged to a dopey millionaire whose disaproving father hires a private detective to check up on her on the journey. Dorothy ( a dazzling Jane Russell) who doesn’t care about bagging herself a rich heir, enjoys the attentions of the Olympic Swimming team who are also travelling!

Lorelei tries on a diamond tiara.
Lorelei tries on a diamond tiara.
Whose going to take me out on a date??
Whose going to take me out on a date??

Lorelei soon becomes impressed with the wealth of married diamond merchant ‘Piggy’ ( Charles Coburn) whose wife lets her try on a sparkling diamond tiara. Meanwhile the private detective Mallone ( Elliot Reid ) befriends Dorothy in the hope of finding out any dirt on Lorelei. Dorothy proves herself a loyal friend but he still manage’s to photograph Lorelei and the diamond tycoon in a compromising position Piggy ~ demonstrating on Lorelei how a python squeezes a goat.Ho Ho.

Lorelei and Dorothy looking very glam.
Lorelei and Dorothy looking very glam.

Mallone thinks he may be falling in love with Dorothy but the two girls feeling hoodwinked manage to trick him into giving them the film. Lorelei passes it on to Piggy, who very much grateful and relieved gives her his wife’s diamond tiara as a reward. Dorothy who was growing fond of Mallone too, before he revealed himself to be a private detective vows herself off men and the two best pals arrive in Paris.

Don't we look French in our berets !
Don’t we look French in our berets !
Diamonds are a girls best friend.
Diamonds are a girls best friend.

Fun and frolics follow in France as Lorelei is accused of stealing a certain diamond tiara and all the men folk hotly pursue them. Will love find Dorothy? Will Lorelei’s penchant for diamonds continue?
You will have to watch this gem of a glorious tecnicolor musical comedy to find out….if only to watch Marilyns iconic rendition of ‘Diamonds are a girls best friend’.
I loved this film.Can’t believe I’ve never seen it before now!

Whats your favorite Marilyn film?