The plot of the film is simple enough. Jerry Mulligan (played by Gene Kelly) is an American ex-GI trying to become an artist in Paris. He is an all around nice guy who seems to get by more on charm than talent. He meets up with a perfume girl named Lise (played by Leslie Caron) who steels his heart, but she is engaged to Henri (played by Georges Geutary), the man who protected her during World War II. The movie centers on how Jerry and Lise finally are able to get together. There is a colorful cast of supporting characters including piano player Adam Cook played by Oscar Levant, feminine tease/American debutante Milo Roberts played by Nina Foch, and the people who inhabit the streets of Paris.
The music and dancing truly make this film a magical spectacle. The songs that are used in the film are from the George and Ira Gershwin songbook and each is performed rather well. Probably the most notable musical performance in the film is Georges Geutary singing "Stairway to Paradise" staged in a manner that could only be done by MGM. Other great scenes include Gene Kelly dancing with a café matron and flower seller. The dance with the flower seller is particularly moving. She is much older than Kelly and when we watch this scene, we get a sense she is reliving a special moment in her life. Kelly's version of "I Got Rhythm" teams the great dancer with the neighborhood children who are only after one thing-Kelly's American bubble gum. We see some fancy footwork by Kelly as well as amusing interactions with children. The final dance number of the film, called "The American In Paris Ballet" is probably Hollywood's best dance scene. At least MGM thinks so since it ends MGM's historical documentary THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!
While it's true that renting AN AMERICAN IN PARIS in a video store is not all that difficult, this is a film that can give enjoyment over and over again, so why not add it to your collection?