1958 Lerner-Loewe musical movie which won 9 Academy Awards including Best Picture and which is widely described as "the last of the great MGM musicals."

Leslie Caron stars as the title character, a girl being raised by her grandmother and trained by her great-aunt to follow in their footsteps as a courtesan to the wealthy men of Paris. Louis Jordan plays Gaston Lachaille, heir to a sugar fortune and an old friend of Gigi's family, who is bored with the endless string of women he's been dating (including his latest, played by Eva Gabor), and ends up falling in love with Gigi. Maurice Chevalier plays Gaston's uncle and advisor, Honore, and steals the show with two of the most memorable songs, Thank Heaven for Little Girls and I Remember It Well.


I recently saw Gigi for the first time after hearing it described as a great romantic movie. Unfortunately, the story (which was set in 1900) seems a bit off compared to modern Western culture. While the moral (Be yourself and you will find true love - be what others want and you will lose it) still has value, much of the action seems "creepy." Thank Heaven for Little Girls starts off the movie with a hint of pedophilia. You then meet Gigi, running and playing with other children in the park, before going off to her great-aunt's for lessons on courting men, and then being told she's too young for a glass of champagne. Gaston enjoys his time with her, playing with the girl he still thinks of as a child. It hardly seems she's had much chance to grow up when her grandmother & great-aunt start negotiating with Gaston for her "services." (Gigi admits that she understands they are setting her up for "sleeping in your bed.") If you changed the setting to modern America, Gigi would end up in foster care and the rest of them would end up in prison for child prostitution and other assorted nastiness. (Perhaps it should come as no surprise that after Gigi, Lerner tried to turn Lolita into a musical.) All in all, a great example of a mid-20th century big Hollywood musical, but not the greatest story for the 21st century.

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