An American in Paris: A Case of the Doubles
I’ve seen Vincente Minnelli’s classic multiple times, so I was surprised to notice during one viewing that there was a lot of pairing being done. It sounds a little weird, I know. Maybe it’s just coincidental and I’m making too big a deal out of it, but it sparked my interest and to be honest, it lets me type up a somewhat lazy post. Anyway, read my list below and decide for yourself.
1. Milo buys two of Jerry’s paintings.
2. Jerry and Lisa each lead two lives: one with each other, and one with other people.
3. Adam, Jerry, and Henri are introduced twice in the beginning—the first time is a fake-out, while the second time isn’t.
4. Jerry has two women in his life: Milo and Lisa.
5. Lisa has two men in her life: Henri and Jerry.
6. Two languages are dominant, French and English. Just look at the title—American/Paris, English/French.
7. The Art Students’ Ball has two colors, black and white.
8. Jerry does two ballets that bookend the film—there’s an everyday-life one in the beginning when he’s moving around his apartment, and there’s the big “An American in Paris” one at the end.
9. Two for one: Jerry sees a fellow painter at Montmartre who is a double of Winston Churchill, which causes Jerry to do a double take.
So, what’s the significance of this all? I honestly have no clue, but I’m wondering if it was done to reinforce the idea of the story’s main focus: the romantic coupling of Lisa and Jerry. It’s either that or Alan Jay Lerner, the screenwriter, is messing with me. Or maybe it’s both. Regardless, I’m glad to see that even though I can watch a film hundreds of times, I can still find something new about it.