Thoughts on classic movies

I caught about ten minutes of Gigi this morning on TCM (before J. said “Mommy, I don’t want to watch that!” and we went back to Sesame Street). It’s been a while since I’ve seen this movie, and looking at it now, my mind is blown.

How did this movie make it past the censors in 1958? HOW?

You have Gigi, the main character. 15-years-old, and the daughter of a minor vocalist in the Paris Opera (and therefore, by the definition of the times, her mother is only a few steps up from being a whore herself– theatre women were NOT respectable), and there is a strong implication that Gigi is illegitimate herself (I cannot remember any reference to her father). Her family is poor, and there is absolutely no hope of her ever making a good marriage. So her grandmother is training her to be a courtesan.

This is the exchange that fascinates me. The censors let this through:

Gigi: You told Grandmamma that you wanted to take care of me.
Gaston Lachaille: To take care of you beautifully.
Gigi: Beautifully. That is, if I like it. They’ve pounded into my head I’m backward for my age… but I know what all this means. To “take care of me beautifully” means I shall go away with you… and that I shall sleep in your bed.
Gaston Lachaille: Please, Gigi, I beg of you! You embarrass me!
Gigi: You weren’t embarrassed to talk to Grandmamma about it. And Grandmamma wasn’t embarrassed to talk to me about it. But I know more than she told me. To “take care of me” means that I shall have my photograph in the papers. That I shall go to the Riviera, to the races at Deauville. And when we fight, it will be in all the columns the next day. And then you’d give me up, as you did with Inèz des Cèvennes.

And then there’s the bit where Gaston tells Gigi that if she is nice to him, he’ll be nice to her. Her response: “To be nice to you means that I should have to sleep in your bed. Then when you get tired of me I would have to go to some other gentleman’s bed.”

Again, I’m amazed. And I’ll need to go rewatch this movie sometime soon. After J. goes to bed, that is.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.