Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Leslie Caron,
Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold, Eva Gabor
Director: Vincente Minelli
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.4:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 115 Minutes
Release Date: March 31, 2009
"Bad table manners, my dear Gigi, have broken up more households than infidelity."
Thank heaven for classic musicals on Blu-ray...Gigi
is an absolute treat!
This is a completely enchanting and charming musical picture, lively, fun, and entertaining all the way, and deserves to be remembered as one of the best movies made in the golden era of musicals. It won an incredible nine Oscars, including the first Best Director statue awarded to a director of a musical film. They couldn't have picked a more deserving first in that category than Vincente Minnelli.
The cast is simply perfect. The beautiful and vibrant Leslie Caron brings the title character to life, filled with youthful enthusiasm and raw, tomboy energy. Louis Jourdan brings a cool, dry, but always warm humor to the role of the rich suitor, Gaston. And Maurice Chevalier, as Honore, is the epitome of sly charm. With a twinkle in his eye and a lightness to his step, you can't help but smile as he renders some of the film's most memorable tunes, including "Thank Heaven for Little Girls", "I Remember it Well", and my personal favorite, "I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore".
This film is largely the result of the huge Broadway success of songwriters Lerner and Lowe's My Fair Lady. Though it would be a few more years to see that turned into a film of its own, they felt they could translate their talents into movie gold by creating a show directly for the screen. And they were right. The songs are all terrific, without a single throwaway in the bunch. And Lerner's script is funny and well paced.
But most of the credit belongs to the inspired cast, and to Minnelli's magic touch. Gigi is pure, effervescent, escapist delight, and a shining jewel in the magical era of movie musicals.
Ah, Technicolor glory and Blu-ray...what a combination! This vivid presentation shines like the gem from the Golden Age that it is. The colors are, of course, heightened into a beauty not really seen in the real world, but that's a real treat for film fans. Detail levels are strong and sparkling throughout, and only minor instances of flicker here and there will remind you that this movie is over half a century old.
The TrueHD soundtrack is a lively treat...not much is required of the subwoofer or rear channel signals, but the spoken words are clean and clear and the terrific musical score sounds more lush and full than ever.
This double disc set is loaded with goodies, starting with a commentary from star Leslie Caron and historian Jeanine Basinger; a nice treat. There is also a new making-of documentary looking back at the film, and the 1949 nonmusical first filmed version of Gigi from 1949. Rounding out are a trailer and a pair of classic shorts, “The Vanishing Duck” and “The Million Dollar Nickel”.
Gigi is a wonderful, magical, and completely entertaining film that sparkles like a jewel on Blu-ray. Kudos to Warner Bros. for making films like this and An American in Paris available to high definition fans. Only one thing left to say...bring on Singin' in the Rain!