AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (Vincente Minnelli, 1951)

Obnoxious Gene Kelly, who plays the “young” American painter in “too real and too beautiful” Paris, is always something of a chore to endure, and his Oscar-winning choreography is spotty; but I like An American in Paris, Vincente Minnelli’s first Oscar-winning best picture. Its splendid romance and sprightly, artificial Paris glow. And the Gershwin music: […]

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY (Robert Siodmak, 1944)

Last night, I took in for the first time in over 40 years what surely must be Robert Siodmak’s worst film: Christmas Holiday—Universal’s first attempt to turn songbird/cash cow Deanna Durbin into a dramatic actress. Durbin is inept, whether lugubriously singing Berlin’s “Always” or heavily emoting in lieu of acting. (What makes some non-talents think […]

INVITATION TO THE DANCE (Gene Kelly, 1956)

Gene Kelly’s Invitation to the Dance took the top prize at Berlin. It is a silent film but for the music and a scattering of sound effects; it is tripartite, consisting of three distinct episodes.      The film’s launch, the episode titled “Circus,” is dispiriting in the extreme. Kelly portrays a lovesick, romantically passed-over clown in […]