New on Blu-ray: Gigi


One of the fun things about watching movies made during the production code is looking for the subtext – and Gigi is ripe with it.

Gigi (Leslie Caron) is a young woman being groomed for society, but her rambunctious tomboy tendencies tend to rule her actions. She is raised by her grandmother and trained by her great aunt in the ways of table manners and being a man's companion. But Gigi most enjoys herself when spending time with Gaston (Louis Jourdan), a not-so-old family friend. Soon the matriarchs are arranging it so Gaston can only see Gigi if he commits to her – but their plans differ from Gigi's.

Based on the description, you may have already deciphered the story's true nature. Gigi is following in the steps of the other women in her family and becoming a high-class escort. In England, they're courtesans; and in Japan, geishas; in 1930s American film, they just are. At first glance, it's an innocent tale of a young girl being taught to be a lady; but as you pay attention to exactly what she is being shown and the terms used in her budding relationship with Gaston, the subtext rises to the surface.

The musical aspect of the picture is a mix of song and sung dialogue. This is, however, the picture that brought the song "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" to the world, which is sung wonderfully by Maurice Chevalier. It is also the recipient of nine Academy Awards, including best picture and best director for Vincente Minnelli.

The Blu-ray special features are the same as the previous two-disc DVD release. There is feature commentary by historian Jeanine Basinger and Caron, providing details from on-set and the production and a post-making of documentary featuring Caron and Minnelli. It also includes the original French 1949 non-musical version of Gigi starring Daniéle Delorme, which is quite similar except for the musical numbers. And just for fun, it includes the vintage short The Million Dollar Nickel, encouraging Americans to write to Europe about their wonderful lives; and a Tom & Jerry cartoon titled “The Vanishing Duck.”

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