Written by: David Meckler
Date: August 18, 2016
“It’s very clear, our love is here to stay. Not for a year, but ever and a day.”
I recently saw this George and Ira Gershwin song performed for the umpteenth time in one of my favorite films ever, Gene Kelly’s “An American in Paris.”
In it, Kelly plays American expat artist Jerry Mulligan who sings and dances his way through the French capital city as he struggles trying to promote his career. Leslie Caron portrays lovely, young Lise Bouvier, who is torn between Mulligan and Henri Baurel (played by Georges Guetary). Oscar Levant portrays pianist Adam Cook.
In addition to “Love is Here to Stay,” this film has some of the most famous songs in the history of Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) movie musicals, including “Embraceable You,” “Nice Work if You Can Get it,” “I Got Rhythm,” “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise,” and “’S Wonderful.”
“Guetary sparkles singing “I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise,” and joins Kelly for “’S Wonderful.”
Levant shines in “Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra,” a musical number in which he is seen playing all the instruments and conducting the orchestra.
Near the end of the movie, Caron joins Kelly for the memorable ballet sequences taking viewers around the city and into the French country side. This, after Caron leaves Guetary for Kelly, ultimately proving that their love was here to stay.
“The radio and the telephone and the movies that we know may just be passing fancies and in time may go.”
Kelly and Caron sing the song and dance with each other as they talk walking along the River Seine in Paris. The song would be recorded by various artists, the likes of which include Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Oscar Peterson, Harry Connick, Jr., and Barry Manilow.
The song also made for two memorable moments during Johnny Carson’s 30 year reign on “The Tonight Show.” The first occurred in the 1960’s— Pearl Bailey coaxes a reticent and reluctant Carson to join her away from his desk and chair and over to the performance area as she is able to get him to sing. Then, in the 1970’s, Johnny does a duet with Steve Lawrence in which the two men perform the song with a great deal of intimacy.
So, the next time you see the movie or hear vocalists giving their renditions, you’ll have a greater understanding and appreciation of where this tune came from and where it has been.
“In time the Rockies my crumble, Gibraltar my tumble.
They’re only made of clay. But our love is here to stay.”