Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Gigi (1958)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Gigi (1958)

In director Vincente Minnelli's Best Picture-winning musical romance set at turn-of-the-century Paris - winning all nine of its Academy Award nominations:

  • the film's opening in 1900 Paris: the introduction to aging, charming boulevardier, lover of beauty and fashion, and womanizing Honore Lachaille (Maurice Chevalier in a comeback role) who spoke directly to the camera: "Bonjour, monsieur. Bonjour, madame and company. Good afternoon. As you see, this lovely city all around us is Paris. And this lovely park is, of course, the Bois de Boulogne. Pardon me. Who am l? Well, allow me to introduce myself. l am Honor Lachaille. Born: Paris. Date: Not lately. This is 1900 so let's just say not in this century. Circumstances: Comfortable. Profession: Lover and collector of beautiful things. Not antiques, mind you. Younger things. Yes, definitely younger. Married? What for? Now, please don't misunderstand. Like everywhere else, most people in Paris get married. But not all. There are some who will not marry and some who do not marry. But here in Paris, those who will not are usually men and those who do not are usually women"; he was strolling along the Bois de Bologne; after sitting down, he noticed lots of young girls playing, prompting him to sing a memorable song about the splendor of youth: "Thank Heaven for Little Girls"
"Thank Heaven for Little Girls"
  • after singing the song, he spoke about one particular young school-girl named Gigi Alvarez, playing nearby with her classmates: "This story is about a little girl. lt could be any one of those girls playing there. But it isn't. lt's about one in particular. That one. Her name is Gigi"
  • the main character: the carefree, courtesan-trained Gilberte ("Gigi") Alvarez (Leslie Caron), who would become involved in a romantic affair with Honore's young wealthy nephew Gaston Lachaille (Louis Jourdan), a playboy
  • the duet: "I Remember It Well" between Honore and Parisian courtesan Madame Alvarez (Hermione Gingold), Gigi's grandmother and guardian - singing about their long-time-ago romance
  • Gigi's liveliest and best song (and dance): "The Night They Invented Champagne"
  • the scenes of Gigi being sent to her regal great Aunt Alicia (Isabel Jeans), Mme. Alvarez's sister, to be groomed as a courtesan to learn etiquette and charm, where she sang: "The Parisians" - her concerns about the love-obsessed Parisians: "I don't understand the Parisians Thinking love so miraculous and grand, but they rave about it and won't live without it, I don't understand the Parisians!"
  • the scene of great Aunt Alicia's astonishment when Madame Alvarez passed on Gigi's ultimate decision to her - a rejection of the proposal to be a kept mistress of Gaston: "She doesn't want to"; Alicia reacted to the news with dismay: "Such stupidity is without equal in the entire history of human relations. lt must be your fault. lt must be. You must've emphasized all of the difficulties instead of the delights. What did you say to the little monster?...What did you say to her? Did you tell her about love, travel, moonlight, ltaly? About hummingbirds in all the flowers and making love in a gardenia-scented garden?'s incredible. lncredible! Where is she? Perhaps l should talk to her again and tell her what she's missing. lt's the glory of romance, forgetting everything in the arms of the man who adores you, listening to the music of love in an eternal spring...You're a fool! And your granddaughter takes after you. Oh, when l think of the time and effort l've lavished on that idiotic child!"
  • in a subsequent scene, Gaston arrived to meet with Gigi who had changed her mind - and she told him simply: "Gaston, l have been thinking. l'd rather be miserable with you than without you" - she would be with him, although she would remain unsure about the mistress arrangement
Gigi to Gaston: "I'd rather be miserable with you than without you"
Gaston: "Give me the infinite joy of bestowing on me Gigi's hand in marriage?"
  • the scene of Gaston's realization of his growing love for "Gigi" - exemplified by his singing of "Gigi"; he decided to return to Gigi's apartment in formal wear and ask permission from Mme. Alvarez for her hand in marriage ("Madame, will you do me the honor, the favor, give me the infinite joy of bestowing on me Gigi's hand in marriage?") in place of the courtesan/mistress arrangement; Gigi heard the proposal and came to Gaston's side; the last spoken word was Mme's reaction: "Thank heaven"

Introduction of Honore Lachaille
(Maurice Chevalier)

"That one - Her name is Gigi"

"The Parisians"

"I Remember It Well"

"The Night They Invented Champagne"

"I'm Glad I'm Not Young Any More"

Gigi's Decision to Not Be A Courtesan: "She Doesn't Want to"


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