Study Guide

An American in Paris Scene 11

Scene 11

Scene 11

  • The close-up of Jerry's face dissolves into a backdrop of his black-and-white gate sketch. A single red rose sits in the foreground. Suddenly, Jerry materializes. He's no longer in his masquerade ball costume; he's just in a pair of black pants and a black shirt.
  • Jerry picks up the rose. Suddenly, the gate sketch bursts with color. Jerry drops the rose and is swarmed by dancers clad in white. He starts dancing, too.
  • Looks like The American in Paris ballet sequence is off and running, folks.
  • In the first scene of the ballet, Jerry dances through a busy Paris plaza in the style of Raoul Dufy. In the center of the plaza sits the Place de la Concorde fountain. We've got dancing ladies, all in red, and dancing French soldiers, too. Jerry has a mini dance-off with a dude in a turban. This ballet is bonkers.
  • The fountain scene suddenly switches to night. People carry torches. The music intensifies. It's chaos. More specifically, it looks like Jerry's dancing through a warped version of the French Revolution.
  • Wait! There's Lise! Jerry follows her to the fountain, and then she disappears. Man, even in dream sequences, this gal is always running away.
  • The setting changes. It's daytime, and Jerry's strolling through a Renoir garden filled with flower stands, where he finds the red rose again.
  • Lise reappears, in a new outfit, and they dance together. The music and dancing are way more subdued than in the fountain scene. All of the bystanders in the garden remain frozen, as Jerry and Lise dance through this second living painting.
  • Jerry twirls with Lise in his arms, and then she disappears into a bushel of flowers. Suddenly, Jerry's all alone except for the armful of flowers. At least they can't run away.
  • Jerry's not alone for long, though. The jaunty music kicks back in, and Jerry's joined on the street by four dancing U.S. servicemen on leave in France.
  • Jerry and the boys pop into a shop and reemerge in bright, striped suits and straw hats, just as the French soldiers from the fountain scene come storming through again. This time the backdrop's a riff on the work of Maurice Utrillo. Did we mention this ballet is bonkers? We did? Okay, good.
  • The setting changes once again, this time to a large, Rousseau-inspired plaza filled with townspeople.
  • It looks like a fair's going down: we've got animals, puppets, acrobats, and look—there's Lise again, in yet another new costume, dancing with a squad of girls. Jerry's AWOL, for now.
  • When Lise and her posse's number ends, Jerry and The Stripe Brigade come dancing down the bridge in the background.
  • Jerry and Lise are reunited, so of course they start dancing. The music? Bright and happy. Pretty soon, the whole town gets in on it. Don't worry; the French soldiers are there, too.
  • Suddenly, Jerry and Lise are all alone and back on the fountain. Lise sports another costume. Their dance—and the music—takes a sultry, passionate turn. They must really dig that fountain.
  • Time for another scene change. Jerry and Lise are now in front of the Place de l'Opera, inspired by Van Gogh. We're pretty sure he wasn't French, but that doesn't stop Jerry and Lise from dancing there, too, engaging the elegantly-dressed people milling about in front of the building.
  • Toulouse-Lautrec time. Jerry and Lise dance a quirky jazz number in a Montmartre café. Did somebody say Moulin Rouge?
  • Jerry wears a tight white outfit, while Lise is dolled up as a cancan girl. They get their groove on, then go back outside in front of the opera house, which is quickly replaced by mirrors. Then they rush back to the fountain.
  • The ballet reaches its climax as Jerry and Lise dance joyously on top of the fountain, which is surrounded by scores of other equally exuberant dancers.
  • Then poof! Everybody's gone, and Jerry's all by his lonesome again.
  • Jerry dashes out of the fountain scene and is once again in front of his gate sketch, which still brims with color.
  • The red rose sits on the ground. He stoops to pick it up, and all of the color drains from his sketch. Jerry's back where he started. Womp womp.
  • Jerry picks up the rose and holds it in front of him. The camera zooms in on the rose as the music ends, then dissolves back into Jerry's face. The dream sequence is over, and Jerry's back on the balcony at the masquerade ball.
  • He still looks bummed…and a little demented.
  • Just as Jerry's about to drag his sorry butt back into the party, he hears a car horn. It's Lise and Henri.
  • Henri opens the car door and Lise steps out. Lise gives Henri a kiss and then rushes back to the party. That Henri's one heck of a guy.
  • Lise rushes up the front steps of the ball, and Jerry rushes down to meet her. They embrace. Then they kiss. Then they walk off into the early morning, hand-in-hand, as the camera pans up across the Paris skyline.