Gigot (1962): Gene Kelly’s Melodrama, Starring Jackie Gleason

Gene Kelly directed the melodrama Gigot, starring Jackie Gleason in a silent role.

Gleason plays Gigot (the name means “leg of mutton” in French), a mute Frenchman living in a cellar in Paris in the 1920s. Ekking out a hand-to-mouth existence as a janitor at his landlady’s apartment building, he is treated with condescension and contempt by his neighbors, who often make him the butt of practical jokes.

However, in reality, he is a decent and kindhearted fellow, traits that are appreciated by the children and the animals he feeds.

Gigot is peculiarly attracted to funeral processions, which he attends, whether or not he knew the departed. He can’t help but cry along with all the other mourners.

After being abused by locals at a pub, he chances upon Colette (Katherine Kath), and her 6-year-old daughter Nicole (Diane Gardner), trying to stay dry. He takes them to his dingy basement abode, gives them food and drink, a bed to sleep in, and shelter from the rain.