Sunday, February 26, 2017
T Bone Burnett worked with the Coen brothers on the superb sound track as the movie was being written. The music in the film consists mainly of American southern folk music, and the sound track won the Album of the Year Grammy award. I rated this one 5 stars, too.
The two actors, André Gregory and Wallace Shawn, who play themselves, have a certain charm, but a dinner companion would have to be a lot more engaging than André, for me to have patience with a monologue. I gave this one 3 stars.
The story is loosely based on a novella of the same name by the French writer, Colette, and is one of the few books I've read in the original French. The movie is a charming romantic musical comedy set in turn-of-the century Paris. The women in the family are brought up to be courtesans, and they don't marry. As Aunt Alicia, who gives Gigi lessons for her future role, says, "Marriage is not forbidden to us, but instead of getting married at once, it sometimes happens we get married at last."
The cast is listed below.
Leslie Caron as Gilberte ("Gigi")
Maurice Chevalier as Honoré Lachaille
Louis Jourdan as Gaston Lachaille
Hermione Gingold as Madame Alvarez
Eva Gabor as Liane d'Exelmans
Isabel Jeans as Aunt Alicia
Costumes were designed by Cecil Beaton, and the cinematographer was Joseph Ruttenberg. The scenes of Paris are gorgeously idealized, and they are a feast for the eye. The movie won nine academy awards, including Best Picture. 5 stars for Gigi.
In the past, I thought Louis Jordan was dreamily good-looking, but my taste changed over the years. It's not that Jourdan is not good-looking, but he's no longer my dream man.
I remember with fondness Hermione Gingold's regular appearances on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. Though Paar was sometimes an ass, his guests were often brilliant, and he could hold his own in the banter. When I visited my friend who was at Columbia University over 50 years ago, she had reserved tickets to the show. One guest that evening was the playwright, George S Kaufman. Somehow ostriches as unlikable birds came up in the conversation, and Paar asked Kaufman if he liked ostriches. Kaufman said, "It's hard to say. I know so few ostriches."
Credit to Wikipedia as the source for some of the details about the films.
Monday, August 17, 2015
Bob Balaban, actor, director, and producer, convinced Altman to collaborate with him on the film and suggested Julian Fellowes to write the script. The movie is perhaps more Downton Abbey than Agatha Christie, but the result is brilliant. The two, with the assistance of casting director Mary Selway, gathered a splendid ensemble cast, in which major British actors sometimes play relatively minor roles. The actors include Eileen Atkins, Alan Bates, Charles Dance, Laurence Fox, Stephen Fry, Michael Gambon, Richard E. Grant, Tom Hollander, Derek Jacobi, Helen Mirren, Jeremy Northam, Clive Owen, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, Emily Watson, and Balaban himself. Phew! Balaban is the sole character from the States, and, like the rest of us Yanks, he makes the usual hash of his visit to England.
Altman encourages cast members to improvise, sometimes to excellent and witty effect, and Gosford Park includes the same rapid fire crosstalk I remember from MASH and Nashville, another great Altman film. Even as the movie addresses serious social issues of class, money, sex, gender and sexual orientation, it does so with humor and without heavy-handed preachiness.
I'd seen the movie in the theater when it was first released, and, because of the crosstalk, I knew I'd missed quite a bit of the dialogue. Also, the cast of characters is quite large, and thus it's a challenge to keep track of who's who and the relationships, so I was pleased with the opportunity to see the film again on Netflix DVD. Before I sent it back, I watched a third time and realized I'd still missed a lot the first and second times around. Since I enjoy the film so much, I decided to buy the DVD.