Rhino's 1996 reissue of the soundtrack from Vincente Minnelli's Gigi is the third distinctly different edition of the soundtrack on CD. In contrast to the MCA version, which replicated the 1958 LP, or the 1991 version from Sony Music, which incorporated stretches of orchestrated dialogue, the producers of this CD had access to the unmixed music tracks from the original film elements. The result is a 42 song CD with 75 minutes of music, double the length of any prior version of the soundtrack, which adds some beautiful music to the repertory, including Frederick Loewe's gorgeous waltz theme for the "Skating Rink Sequence," not to mention the "Waltz At Maxim's," and allows us to hear the exquisite Andre Previn and Conrad Salinger orchestrations in their uninhibited splendor -- this, in turn, only enhances the adjacent songs, such as "It's A Bore" and "Thank Heaven For Little Girls," which only sound prettier in this setting, with their bracing inner detail revealed. The Rhino disc retains the stereo sound of the Sony release, and adds some very worthwhile bonus materials. Musically, the most satisfying of those bonus tracks is the extended version of the "Waltz At Maxim's," while the most enlightening is a recording of Leslie Caron attempting to sing "The Parisians," "The Night They Invented Champagne," and "Say a Prayer for Me Tonight" -- Betty Wand sang it on the actual soundtrack, and with reason; Caron's vocalizing on "The Parisians" is strained and off-key, although it is interesting to hear a non-singer's approach singing the part in a musical of this kind, and include lines that were cut from the final version of the song. The notes by Marilee Bradford, 25 pages of them, are as extensive an account of the making of the movie and the evolution of the score as has ever been assembled, and are worth the price of the CD by themselves, to any fan of Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe, or Vincente Minnelli. And the entire CD supplants any other edition of the soundtrack, and makes an essential supplement to the videotape, laserdisc, or DVD editions.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder