On the afternoon of the so-called “Marriage Protection Sunday,” Steve and I went out to the Michigan Theater and saw Vincente Minnelli’s “An American in Paris“ (1951), which I’d never seen all the way through before and has got to be one of the all-time great musicals. Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Ira and George Gershwin, Vincente Minnelli, “I Got Rhythm,” and the Montmartre: all good antidotes to the hatemongers and the naysayers. Minnelli’s masterful use of color is almost hallucinatory; it’s absolutely unbelievable on the big screen, and it makes stuff like Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!” look like child’s play, no matter how much “better” the technology that modern filmmakers have access to.
It was also gratifying to see that while the screening room where the film was being shown wasn’t packed, it wasn’t empty either. There were plenty of people there, and they were of many different ages and backgrounds; it wasn’t just a bunch of stereotypical musical aficionados (i.e., gay men). A grandmother behind us in line had two girls with her about 11 or 12 years old; good for her for taking them on a Sunday afternoon to see a classic American movie instead of some teen-tween major-studio crowd-pleaser like “Sleepover” or “Garfield.”