An American in Paris. The Movie.

An American in Paris. The Movie.

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 27th, 2017, 8:03 pm #1

Go to 0.07. Is the waiter supposed to be Paul Whiteman?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj36fJIsW9s

A still from the movie:

?fref=gc

Albert
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Mark Gabrish Conlan
Mark Gabrish Conlan

August 28th, 2017, 12:32 am #2

I don't think the drawn figure of a waiter in the background of this spectacular dance sequence is supposed to be Paul Whiteman. The sequence is from the film's final ballet, in which Gene Kelly worked out a series of dance sequences inspired by late 19th century French artists. This particular sequence is based on the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, with Kelly as the Black dancer "Du Chocolat," one of the cabaret entertainers for whom Toulouse-Lautrec did posters. Another one was Aristide Bruant, and I think the heavy-set waiter figure in the drawn background is supposed to be Bruant.

Incidentally, about a year and a half ago the San Diego Museum of Art did an exhibit on music and musicians as they had been depicted by artists over the years. The Museum has a large Toulouse-Lautrec poster collection and one of the most startling pieces in their exhibition was a painting on ceramic of the French singer Yvette Guilbert. I was astonished because I hadn't realized any of the entertainers painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, who had died in 1900, had ever recorded -- but Guilbert did, and I was moved by the exhibit to order online a copy of a 10" LP reissue of Guilbert's records from the 1930's (she lived until 1944) that not surprisingly used Toulouse-Lautrec's image of her as the cover.
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Alberta
Alberta

August 28th, 2017, 7:36 am #3

Thanx for posting!
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 28th, 2017, 12:42 pm #4

I don't think the drawn figure of a waiter in the background of this spectacular dance sequence is supposed to be Paul Whiteman. The sequence is from the film's final ballet, in which Gene Kelly worked out a series of dance sequences inspired by late 19th century French artists. This particular sequence is based on the works of Toulouse-Lautrec, with Kelly as the Black dancer "Du Chocolat," one of the cabaret entertainers for whom Toulouse-Lautrec did posters. Another one was Aristide Bruant, and I think the heavy-set waiter figure in the drawn background is supposed to be Bruant.

Incidentally, about a year and a half ago the San Diego Museum of Art did an exhibit on music and musicians as they had been depicted by artists over the years. The Museum has a large Toulouse-Lautrec poster collection and one of the most startling pieces in their exhibition was a painting on ceramic of the French singer Yvette Guilbert. I was astonished because I hadn't realized any of the entertainers painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, who had died in 1900, had ever recorded -- but Guilbert did, and I was moved by the exhibit to order online a copy of a 10" LP reissue of Guilbert's records from the 1930's (she lived until 1944) that not surprisingly used Toulouse-Lautrec's image of her as the cover.
Here are two juxtaposed images that prove your case conclusively..

https://vacheespagnole.files.wordpress. ... _17-44.png

But I have strong doubts that the waiter is Aristide Bruant. He was a handsome man. Take a look.



This is the most famous picture of Aristide Bruant

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0895/ ... 1453628605

Albert
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 28th, 2017, 12:55 pm #5

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Mark Gabrish Conlan
Mark Gabrish Conlan

August 29th, 2017, 2:19 pm #6

Lots of surprises for me in this interesting thread! First, Albert comes up with a photo of Aristide Bruant that reveals him to be considerably better-looking than Toulouse-Lautrec painted him. (In one of the Toulouse-Lautrec posters he looks so forbidding one would have thought he was a judge instead of an entertainer.) Then there's a link to one of Bruant's records, made in 1912 -- so Yvette Guilbert wasn't the only performer Toulouse-Lautrec (who died in 1900) painted of whom there are recordings. It got more interesting when I opened the link, played it and was susprised that YouTube lists posts of quite a few Bruant records. Also, the sound on this post seemed unusually good for 1912 and I wondered if the record was a Pathé cylinder -- only it isn't: it's a U.S. Victor pressing of one of Bruant's discs. Who knew Bruant had enough of an international following his records were released in the U.S.?

Also, judging not only from the sound of the record itself but also the illustrated song lyrics included in the YouTube post, I suspect Bruant is singing in a deliberately "rustic" sort of French, much the way a northern American singer might affect a Southern accent on a record to create a character appropriate for the song. From what little I could make out the song appears to be a tale of a man from the French countryside who goes to Paris and is astonished by what he sees in the big city. Albert, as a native Frenchman, maybe you can help me and let me know if Bruant is singing in dialect and, if so, just what part of France is his character supposed to come from.

The Wikipedia page on Bruant reads,"Born Louis Armand Aristide Bruand in the village of Courtenay, Loiret in France, Bruant left his home in 1866 at age fifteen, following his father's death, to find employment. Making his way to the Montmartre Quarter of Paris, he hung out in the working-class bistros, where he finally was given an opportunity to show his musical talents. Although bourgeois by birth, he soon adopted the earthy language of his haunts, turning it into songs that told of the struggles of the poor."
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 29th, 2017, 9:10 pm #7

He rolls the rs as was the custom at the time, like Maurice chevalier. Here is Maurice in 1920.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbSPsahebZY

Albert
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Laura Demilio
Laura Demilio

August 30th, 2017, 1:55 am #8

Go to 0.07. Is the waiter supposed to be Paul Whiteman?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj36fJIsW9s

A still from the movie:

?fref=gc

Albert
Has actors who look exactly like the Toulouse-Lautrec drawings.

I believe here in the American in Paris photo Gene Kelly is supposed to be dressed like the Black dancer Chocolat, who was portrayed by a dead ringer in the wonderful 1952 Moulin Rouge movie based on Laurtec's tragic life.
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