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Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The original full-frame transfer generally looks quite nice in its VC-1 rendition here, other than the dupey appearance of the second unit location shooting that opens the picture. Once we're firmly on the Hollywood soundstages, then the picture is crisp and attractive. A little ringing is occasionally visible, but detail is good overall. Skintones (especially Kelly's) seem rather reddish, though Caron doesn't have that effect, so it may be intentional. The Technicolor is often eye-popping, such as in the montage where Caron is first seen, especially as she wears a bright yellow dress in an entirely green room. The costumes spring off the screen, as does the makeup of the women. There's very little to complain about here—if you're a fan of the picture, then you'll be very pleased indeed.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Castilianyes

Audio Transfer Review: Alas, the master was prepared before Warner committed to using lossless audio on its HD discs. The mono track is clean enough, but rather lifeless and lacking in detail. Levant's piano sounds good enough, but the orchestra doesn't have much fire or sparkle to it.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+ 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 27 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, German, Italian, Castilian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Brazilian Portuguese, Swedish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Deleted Scenes
2 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Patricia Ward Kelly, producer Arthur Freed, Gene Kelly, Vincente Minnelli, screenwriter Alan Jay Lerner, musical directors Saul Chaplin and Johnny Green, Leslie Caron, Nina Foch, Michael Feinstein, Preston Ames
Packaging: Elite
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Audio outtakes
  2. Radio interviews
  3. Cartoon Symphony in Slang
Extras Review: Warner offers a panoply of extras, most of which are better than the feature itself, though only the documentary S'Wonderful: Creating An American in Paris (42m:36s) is presented in HD. It's a thorough history of the creation of the picture, though a fair amount of it is Kelly's widow relating anecdotes second hand. A highlight is the poignant recollection by Caron of her abrupt transition from the deprivations of postwar France to Hollywood. The principals get to speak for themselves on a full-length commentary, with various bits edited together with varying degrees of creativity. Though not really screen-specific, it does make an effort to have the comments relate to the visuals a fair proportion of the time. There are some trimmed materials, such as an outtake of Love Walked In, though unfortunately it's sung by Guetary. There's reference to Kelly filming I've Got a Crush on You, though that's not here (if it survives at all). The audio does survive in a selection of sound recordings of outtakes, including an alternate main title and more Levant playing an exquisite version of But Not for Me and Gershwin's Prelude #3. The specific materials in support are concluded by a trailer and some cheesy radio interview recordings that include only the answers, with the local personality to provide the pre-scripted questions.

But there's still more. A 2002 PBS biography of Kelly from the American Masters series provides a solid overview of his career and life. A Technicolor travelogue short from 1938 looks at a 1937 international exhibition in Paris (filmed by the great Jack Cardiff), Paris on Parade. The paeans to world piece and humanity to man are a bit disturbing knowing that within a couple years Nazi tanks would be rolling through these streets. The package is wound up by the 1951 MGM cartoon Symphony in Slang, directed by Tex Avery, rather in a UPA style but keeping some of Avery's trademark ridiculousness.

Extras Grade: A-

Final Comments

A misbegotten mess that somehow has maintained a reputation for decades, it's at least beautifully presented with a wide variety of excellent extras.

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