Best Picture Winners Part 31 (of 87): Gigi


Title: Gigi
Year: 1958
Starring: Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Runtime: 1 hr 55 mins

What It Is: Gigi is a young girl growing up in France. She is not what you’d call a proper lady, just yet. When her childhood friend Gaston recently becomes available her family quickly realizes that that turning her into a proper lady may lead to her being able to grab his attention. What none of them realize is that young Gigi might have already grabbed his attention. Not with her sultry nature (which she doesn’t have), not with a come hither look, but instead with her personality. By just being herself. She proves the point made early in the film by Gaston’s uncle Honore “Thank heaven for little girls, they grow up in the most delightful way”. Filled to the brim with songs and featuring a great performance from Chevalier this is a film that captures the spirit of the musical in a delightful way.

Memorable Quote: Aunt Alicia: Bad table manners, my dear Gigi, have broken up more households than infidelity.

Competition: Better in some regards. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is an adaptation of a Tennessee Williams Pulitzer Prize winning play. It features a young Paul Newman playing alongside Elizabeth Taylor at her most smoldering and attention grabbing. Likewise Auntie Mame is another play adaptation this one by Jerome Lawerence who adopted a Patrick Dennis novel. In it Rosalind Russell stars as Mame Dennis. When young Patrick (the novel’s author) father passes he is left in the care of his Aunt Mame who is a stark difference to the families executor a stuffy socialite type named Dwight Babcock. Mr. Babcock hopes to continue climbing the social ladder. A third play adaptation in this year is Terence Ratigan’s seminal World War II drama. David Nivenstars along with Burt Lancaster and Rita Hayworth. For a cast so star-studded it is fairly lackluster fair. It’s main problem is that this film doesn’t hold up. not in the least. Lastly we have The Defiant Ones which is about 2 convicts (played by Tony Curtis and Sydney Poitier) escape from a chain gang. They are tied together, and each is bigoted towards the other. Blah, blah, blah cliches. You know where this is going but the film is so good you almost don’t care. Damn that Poitier is good.

Looking forward to the next year we have the 1959 winner which is an all-time epic of cinema. Wanna know what it is? You can either google it, or wait until our next part and get the whole story.           

Liked it? Take a second to support William Eguizabal on Patreon!