Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan. Can you believe it's been 50 years since this delightful, multi-Oscar-winning musical debuted in picture houses across the country? And yet the romance in this coming-of-age story is just as exuberant as it was back then.
Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's 1958 direct-to-screen follow-up to their My Fair Lady
was--miraculously--every bit as memorable as that stage smash. Set in fin-de-siècle Paris and based on a Colette story, Gigi
also is about a girl (Leslie Caron) on a lower rung of society who blossoms into Cinderellahood before our eyes and ears. Thank heaven for Hermione Gingold and Maurice Chevalier as her mentors, and Louis Jourdan as her prince. The screenplay writer and lyricist Lerner always said that Gigi
's title song was his favorite of all he'd written, and it's easy to see why--"Gigi" is a transcendent anthem to being transformed by love from an unexpected source. The entire score, including "Say a Prayer" (which had been cut from My Fair Lady
), "I Remember It Well," "The Night They Invented Champagne," and "Thank Heaven for Little Girls," comprise a sparkling, rare soundtrack recording that stands alone and can be enjoyed and understood by those who have not yet seen the movie, deprived souls that they are. The winner of nine Academy Awards® (plus a special Oscar® for Chevalier), including Best Picture, Gigi
was the last great MGM movie musical and one of the best. --Robert Windeler