Sunday, May 13, 2007


When I was in my teens and would watch the 1958 film Gigi, based on Colette’s novella about a family of courtesans, I did not, in my extreme innocence, understand the meaning of it all. It was fun to watch Leslie Caron sing and dance around Paris, flirt with Louis Jourdan, and then get dressed up and go to Maxim’s. I thought it all so romantic. Later, in my thirties, the sordid aspects of the story struck me. It had never occurred to me that they were grooming the young heroine, Gigi, to be a “kept woman.” The Bourbon Kings of France before the Revolution, with the notable exceptions of Louis XIII and Louis XVI, had mistresses who lived in splendor; the scandal was widespread, countered only by the piety of the queens and princesses. The practice of keeping a mistress spread to the wealthy bourgeoisie. The story by Colette, while it is fiction, indubitably had many historical counterparts.

Gigi, however, sees through the glamour to the ugly reality. When Gaston invites her to become his mistress by saying: “ I want to take care of you, beautifully,” Gigi knows that it means that she will sleep with him until he tires of her, and then move on to “another gentleman’s bed.” Because she truly loves Gaston, and is not after his money like everyone else in the story, she recoils from the arrangement. In the end, Gaston, realizing that because he and Gigi truly love each other, he can not expose her to lifestyle of the demi-monde. She must become his wife, or nothing. Ultimately, the pure, lively and lovely girl he fell in love with inspires him to rise above his boring, dissipated existence.


The story of the real "Gigi" is HERE.



Anonymous said...


you are right it has been so long since I have seen that movie 'Gigi'...I saw it when I was a teenager....There is a good moral to it.

Maybe a better movie I should have chosen was 'Pretty Woman' which seemed to glamorize prostitutes....

I remember reading in the news paper when that movie was released and a young girl in class when asked what she wanted to be when she left school replied that she wanted to be a prostitute just like Julia Roberts. I am sure she changed her mind as she matured lol.
But we need to be careful what our young people see maybe different than what we see.

I had not much sleep face was so painful please keep me in your prayers:).

Yours in Christ,


elena maria vidal said...

Colette because she was a good storyteller wove some depth into what would otherwise be a sordid story but yes, I agree, many other films tend to glamorize prostitution.

I will certainly pray for you,dear Marie, and thank you for all of the wonderful comments.I will be back home tomorrow afternoon and have more time for blogging.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I had no idea that GiGi was a story that dealt with that subject. I am not a fan of musicals so never cared for the movie (except I was a great fan of Louis Jordan), but it won awards the year it came out, which surprised me.However, around that era some dark, heavy movies such as "On the Waterfront", "Steetcar Named Desire", "Rebel Without A Cause", came out so I think the industry welcomed a lighthearted movie like we know better. Thanks Elena!