An American in ParisAn American in Paris is a symphonic composition by American composer George Gershwin which debuted in 1928. Inspired by Gershwin's time in Paris, it is in the form of an extended tone poem evoking the sights and energy of the French capital in the 1920s. In addition to the standard instruments of the Classical orchestra, the score features period automobile horns; Gershwin brought back some Parisian taxi-cab horns for the New York premeir of the composition. "An American In Paris" is second only to Rhapsody In Blue as a favorite of Gershwin's classical compositions.
Although Gershwin wrote many stage shows in his lifetime, he was long dead by the time the 1951 musical film, An American in Paris, was made. The film, unusually, was based on the orchestral work of the same name, rather than on a stage musical, but used songs already written for other Gershwin shows. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron and Oscar Levant (one of Gershwin's closest friends in real life), was set in Paris, and directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner. All of the music in the film is by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. The climax of the film is 18 minutes of fantastic dancing featuring Kelly and Caron, set to George Gershwin's "An American In Paris".
This film won six Oscars:
- Best Picture - Arthur Freed, producer
- Best Art - Set Decoration, Color - E. Preston Ames, Cedric Gibbons, F. Keogh Gleason, and Edwin B. Willis
- Best Cinematography, Color - John Alton and Alfred Gilks
- Best Costume Design, Color - Orry-Kelly, Walter Plunkett, and Irene Sharaff
- Best Musical Score - Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green
- Best Writing, Scoring and Screenplay - Allan Jay Lerner