Paris by Hollywood

Paris by Hollywood

Thanks to Hollywood, we’ll always have Paris. A popular exhibit at the Hôtel de Ville last fall celebrated Hollywood’s long love affair with Paris, focusing on some of the roughly 800 American films that have been shot on location or on back lot sets re-creating the French capital. Paris by Hollywood, the exhibit’s hefty, lavishly illustrated catalog, examines Tinseltown’s changing views of the City of Light, from the silent film era to Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and makes a wonderful addition to any Francophile film buff’s library.

Starting with Thomas Edison’s The Girl from Paris (1900), the book chronicles silent films; the sparkling romantic comedies of Ernst Lubitsch; the many films inspired by the cancan; shot-on-location favorites of the 1950s and 1960s including Funny Face, Gigi and Charade; action films (Frantic, Rush Hour 3); and such animated charmers as The Aristocats and Ratatouille. A chapter on “The Parisienne: Object of American Desire” highlights the careers of Claudette Colbert, Danielle Darrieux, Leslie Caron and Audrey Hepburn; other texts explore such topics as the French reaction to Hollywood’s sometimes far-fetched depictions of the city. The “Selected Filmography”, listing nearly 100 films, is guaranteed to lengthen your Netflix queue.

Paris by Hollywood, edited by Antoine De Baecque. Flammarion (distributed by Rizzoli through Random House), 2012. 320 pages, 200 illustrations. $65



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