Cinemalphabet: A is for American Gigolo
[Cinemalphabet, a journey through cinema one letter at a time….]
In his review of American Gigolo film critic Roger Ebert wrote:
We leave “American Gigolo” with the curious feeling that if women weren’t paying this man to sleep with them, he’d be paying them: He needs the human connection and he has a certain shyness, a loner quality, that makes it easier for him when love seems to be just another deal.
The protagonist Julian Kay (Gere) is the titular gigolo specializing in servicing wealthy, society women of a certain age. He’s at the top of his game as evident by his gorgeous clothes, flashy whips and home furnishings, though other than bedding rich ladies, his life is fairly solitary. Though I don’t find Kay especially rich in self-awareness, which I suppose makes it quite easy for him to be framed for the murder of one of his clients.
Besides seeing Gere at arguably his most dreamiest, American Gigolo is notable for the contributions of a pair of gentlemen named Giorgio! Decades before Sex and the City taught everyone outside of high fashion how to pronounce “Manolo Blahnik”, American Gigolo catapulted designer Giorgio Armani into the public consciousness courtesy of the already stunning Gere being made more beautiful (is that even possible) by the exquisitely tailored Armani suits he wore in the film.
Famed producer and musical innovator Giorgio Moroder, who worked with everyone from Donna Summer to David Bowie, crafted the unforgettable soundtrack to the stylish, sexy tale of decadence, excess and murder. However, the soundtrack – with its contributions by the likes of John Hiatt and Smokey Robinson – is perhaps best remembered for the killer theme by Blondie Call Me.
Loneliness was an intriguing lens from which to examine the film and allowed for a different experience than I often have while watching American Gigolo, which is to say, I normally spend more time loving the visuals and the delicious disco soundtrack by Georgio Moroder than considering the nuances of the script and direction. In some ways, American Gigolo parallels another Richard Gere movie – Looking for Mr. Goodbar, particularly in depicting the way folks use sex to combat loneliness, though it plays out differently in each film.