Sunday, February 10, 2013

On Gigi

Gigi's great-aunt gives her ho lessons - this one is
on distinguishing good from crappy gem stones -
you get gems from rich guys in exchange for sex.
The big snow storm gave me a little extra free time, and I decided to check out the Academy Award-winning (1958) movie Gigi. Naturally I was reluctant to see it, since it features mega-creeper Maurice Chevalier singing "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" which opens up the movie. And it isn't bad enough the geezer is checking out young women, he has to make sure to (a) sneer at older women (women his own age) and (b) brag about how some men don't want to get married while all women - he suggests - do. Which, considering it was set in 1900 and written in 1958, was true, but not because women are more suited to marriage than men, as the Patriarchy insists, but because women up until the mid-1960s had little choice but to marry - the other options were spinsterhood or some form of prostitution. Which still only applies to first world countries. In some third world country right now a little girl is being sold by her parents to an old man for legal sex slavery.

It's an all-around revolting spectacle.

However, I read the synopsis at Wikipedia and decided to give Gigi a try. Because it turns out that Chevalier's character represents corruption, cynicism and dissipation - he plays the uncle of the leading man, Gaston who is only ten years older than Gigi - and Gigi appears to be a high school-aged student.

Apparently Gigi's grandmother and great-aunt are grooming her to be a wealthy man's mistress, which was surprisingly daring for a movie made in 1950s Hollywood. And eventually, against Uncle Creeper's advice, Gaston proposes marriage to Gigi instead of a less respectable arrangement.

Interestingly, Chevalier was involved with an older woman, Mistinguett when he was 23 and she was 35. But at least he wasn't in high school.

Anyway, so the movie rejects cynicism and prostitution for romantic and respectable love, and I did like Gigi's honest and unjaded personality, and Leslie Caron is charming. But it's still kind of boring, and the songs aren't especially catchy or well-performed in spite of the "Thank Heavens" notoriety.

And speaking of creepy old men - the music for Gigi was arranged and conducted by Andre Previn, the one-time husband of Mia Farrow and the adoptive father of Soon-Yi Previn.