Thank Heaven for Little Girls

Yuri Krotov - Before debut performance - from iamachild.wordpress.com

Yuri Krotov – Before debut performance – from iamachild.wordpress.com

Gigi is a 1958 musical comedy film directed by Vincente Minnelli, based on the 1944 novella of the same name by the French writer Colette. The screenplay and the song lyrics were written by Alan Jay Lerner, while the music was composed by Frederick Loewe. It starts with Maurice Chevalier singing the song “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” and ends with a reprise of the same song by Maurice Chevalier with a studio chorus. Part of the charm of the performance comes from his typical French accent. Rather than the movie version, I prefer the following video of the song illustrated with pictures of little girls.

The lyrics can be found with that video, also on Google Play Music and on International Lyrics Playground, each with small errors, which are corrected here.

Thank Heaven for Little Girls
by Alan Jay Lerner

Each time I see a little girl
Of five or six or seven
I can’t resist a joyous urge
To smile and say
Thank heaven for little girls
For little girls get
Bigger every day
Thank heaven for little girls
They grow up in
The most delightful way

Those little eyes
So helpless and appealing
One day will flash
And send you crashing
Through the ceiling
Thank heaven for little girls
Thank heaven for them all
No matter where
No matter who
Without them
What would little boys do
Thank heaven
Thank heaven
Thank heaven for little girls

The song has later been interpreted by many singers; noteworthy is the version by Bing Crosby. There are also more ironic performances, for instance Dean Martin on stage with moving dolls, or Gérard Depardieu in the 1994 film My Father the Hero, but the most hilarious interpretating remains that of Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, with his faked French accent, in the 1978 film Revenge of the Pink Panther.

In the film Gigi, the meaning intended by the song was that girls grow up to become lovely young women. But in later versions, it became a celebration of little girls themselves. Hence in many musical shows it has been used to introduce little girls coming on stage, or to accompany a dance performed by little girls. More symbolic is its use to accompany a stage dance between mature men and little girls. Indeed, this song has been interpreted mostly by mature men, and a few times by women; however I do not know of any version sung by a child or a youth. It is a song for adults…

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Thank Heaven for Little Girls

  1. J’ignorais l’existence de cette chanson, que je trouve plutôt sympathique. Je ne connaissais pas non plus le peintre Yuri Krotov, ni cette bien charmante toile, intitulée “Before debut performance”, dont il est l’auteur… Tout cela nous donne la mesure du recul de civilisation auquel nous assistons à l’époque actuelle, où l’enfant est désormais si peu considéré, si méprisé même, et c’est là un indice indéniable de notre décadence morale… Vive l’enfant, une créature à part entière…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s