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“An American in Paris” with NJSO
by Sherri Rase      |   follow us...

   
photos courtesy of NJSO
poster & scenes from "An American in Paris"
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On November 25 and 26, cinephiles and orchestra enthusiasts received an early holiday gift from New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO)–the film “An American in Paris,” with NJSO playing the score live, under the baton of Constantine Kitsopoulos. Adding depth and color to this feat was none other than Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene’s wife. Mrs. Kelly gave us soupçons of lore that added to the enjoyment of the Sunday afternoon, which featured a talk-balk in a more intimate environment after the show. After the hustle and bustle of the previous days and weeks, this was a welcome walk back in time, where times were no simpler, but were, arguably as beautiful. Especially when Alan Jay Lerner writes your screenplay and the Gershwins are writing your score.
Gene Kelly is Jerry Mulligan, a World War Two vet, who fell in love with Paris and decided to remain. We see his heart on his sleeve and when he meets Lise (Leslie Caron), he has no idea he’s about to become part of a triangle. Thus the merriment ensues.
Mrs. Kelly clued us in on several fun facts. These are especially important, as she says that fully a third of the factoids IMDB lists about the film are incorrect. We learned that there were several aspects of the show that caused the critics to hail the film with words like “Unprecendented!” Gene Kelly directed several sequences, though the nod for the film goes to Vincente Minnelli. Kelly directed “Embraceable You;” the adorable “I Got Rhythm,” featuring a bevy of French children; and of course the pièce de résistance–the breathtaking ballet sequence, when Jerry thinks he’s lost Lise forever. Kelly’s modern ballet has him dancing through the work of several painters including Dufy, Renoir, Utrillo, Rousseau, and Tolouse-Latrec. Coming on the heels of the raucous Beaux Arts Ball, the color after the black and white of the ball is just breathtaking. And the humanity and feeling, the depth of compassion is exactly what we need to remember in these times with the news coming from London and Cairo.

 

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