Of all the films which won the Best Picture Oscar one has to wonder how this ho hum musical earned all nine Oscars for which it was nominated. Was it just a weak year or did The Defiant Ones (1958) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) cancel each other out as well? It’s a mystery. Director Vincente Minnelli the Original Song “Gigi” its Musical Score and Adapted Screenplay were among the other Oscar winners. Leslie Caron Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan star. Added to the National Film Registry in 1991. #35 on AFI’s 100 Greatest Love Stories list. “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” is #56 on AFI’s 100 Top Movie Songs of All Time.
Gigi (Caron) has been raised quite innocently by her Grandmother Madame Alvarez (Hermione Gingold) with whom she lives. Alvarez didn’t do as well as her sister Gigi’s former courtesan Aunt Alicia (Isabel Jeans) who lives in high style but (per her vanity) never leaves her expensive flat with butler (e.g. setup for life by former lovers). However Alvarez is friends with a rich playboy Gaston Lachaille (Jourdan) who loves to get away from society’s trappings – which he finds a “bore” – by visiting her humble apartment especially because of her energetic granddaughter; he’s known Gigi since she was a child and loves to play cards with her. But Gigi is now a young woman who follows Gaston’s public love life with delight. Advised by his uncle (Chevalier) an older version of himself Gaston drops yet another woman (Eva Gabor) he’s been dating hoping to escape the trappings of high society for a while. During this time he takes Gigi and Madame Alvarez to the sea during which he begins to notice the former’s maturation. With encouragement and education from Aunt Alicia a match is eventually made (at first Gigi resists the arrangement until she decides that she’d “rather be miserable with him than without him”). However when Gigi acts like the courtesan she’s been trained to be in lieu of the precocious and fun ‘child’ he’d been used to he’s forced to examine his lifestyle and make a decision.