16 May 2007
I Remember It Well
This is another one of my "Stream of Consciousness" posts as one thing just sort of lead to another to reach happy and unhappy endings.
On May 15 in 1958 Gigi premiered at New York's Royale Theater. While it has since be done on the stage, Lerner and Lowe wrote this for the screen without a visit to Broadway first.
Directed by Vincente Minnelli, the film starred Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold and Leslie Caron. Based on the novel of the same name by French writer Colette. Virtually every song in the Lerner and Lowe score was a hit with special emphasis on the ones performed by Maurice Chevalier: "Thank Heavens for Little Girls" and "I Remember It Well." A third song that the veteran performer sang became a signature song for his stage act, "Thank God I'm Not Young Any more".
The film softly glossed over the theme of the original Collette story of a young girl being raised to go into the family business of being "Le Grande Horizontal". It had a happy ending unlike the other story from this French time period of "Camille" which has gone on to be performed in novel, play, ballet, and opera.
Good girls may get married, but bad girls become famous and get the loot before their eventual comeuppance in tragedy. Collette was decidedly NOT a good girl, but she is one of the most fascinating writers to ever pick up a pen.
One to the best actresses to perform Camille on the stage was Laura Keene. Being an actress in this time period was not considered a profession for a good girl, so Laura Keene's story is just a shade on the scandalous side as well. But her story gets overshadowed by history as she was performing in Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater the April night when Abraham Lincoln was watching her from the presidential box above her head.
And just to bring it back full circle to Maurice Chevalier, here he is singing "Louise" for another "bad girl", Louise Brooks.