Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Life in Paris Movies (English)


My parents subscribed to the Capitol Record Club in the 1950's  and musical theatre productions were their favourite genre.  Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan sang with the first French accents that I had ever heard.  The year was 1958 and "Gigi" was the movie. The costumes were lovely, the settings were opulent and Leslie Caron was sooo French. It was an innocent time and nobody bothered about the fact that this young girl was being groomed to be a courtesan. The scenes between Maurice and Hermione Gingold as former lovers were especially endearing.

The next record that I remember Mum and Dad receiving was "Cancan" (1960).  The setting was Montmartre where I shall living for part of my time in Paris. Maurice and Louis were back with Frank Sinatra and a very young Shirley Maclaine. Cole Porter's "I Love Paris", "C'est  Magnifique"and "Montmartre" fuelled my enthusiasm to visit "The City of Light".  This year, I will be going to the Moulin Rouge to see "Féerie", the current  production.  It probably is more Las Vegas than 19th century Paris but I am in the neighbourhood.

Time passed and soon I was old enough to go to the movies myself. My favourite movie of 1960's Paris
was "Charade" with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.  Audrey was stylish, Cary was suave and the villains were scary.  There was suspense, chases through Paris, a Givenchy wardrobe and a score by Henry Mancini. I have watched this movie many times but I still enjoy it as much as when I was a teenager.

Movies changed in the 1970's.  I never saw " Last Tango in Paris."  I majored in French at university and my movies became French language films which tended to be darker. The Romantic period was
replaced by "film noir" and "théâtre de l'absurde".  But that will be a different post.

Skipping back further in time, did you ever read the play "Our Hearts were Young and Gay" by Cornelia Otis Skinner? It is the tale of two unworldly girls making the European tour in the 1920's. There was a 1944 movie version of the play but I have never seen it.  I played Emily in our acting class production in 1969.  What are your favourite Paris movie memories?  How far back do they go?





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