'Funny Face (50th Anniversary Edition)'
(Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, et al / DVD / NR / (1957) 2007 / Paramount)
Overview: Fred Astaire plays a fashion photographer based on real-life cameraman Richard Avedon, in this entertaining musical directed by Stanley Donen (Singin' in the Rain). The story finds Astaire's character turning Audrey Hepburn into a chic Paris model--not a tough premise to buy, especially within this film's air of enchantment and surrounded by a great Gershwin score. Based on an unproduced play, this is one of the best films from the latter part of Astaire's career.
DVD Verdict: 'Funny Face' is one of the most enjoyable and delightful of Hollywood musicals. Featuring an immortal George & Ira Gershwin score ("He Loves and She Loves", "S'Wonderful", "Let's Kiss and Make Up", "How Long Has This Been Going On?"); the smartly-written screenplay by Leonard Gershe also marks this film with a strong storyline. I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't like this movie.
When Quality Magazine invades a pokey Greenwich Village bookstore for a photo shoot, it's the "dowdy intellectual shopgirl" Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn) who gets unwittingly discovered. Photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) finds something special in this "funny face" and jets her off to Paris as the new model for Quality's beauty campaign. Of course love comes knocking for Jo and Dick, but not before some marvelous songs have been sung, and showstopping dances have been performed.
Kay Thompson steals the entire movie as the deadpan magazine editor Maggie Prescott. She gets things off to a cracking start with "Think Pink", traipses all over the streets of Paris with "Bonjour Paree"; and also gets a kooky 11 o'clock beatnik routine, "Clap Yo' Hands" (with Astaire). The character of Prescott is a thinly-veiled caricature of noted fashion editor Diana Vreeland; whilst Astaire's role is modelled after photographer Richard Avedon. Fans of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" should keep an eye out for former brides' Virginia Gibson and Ruta Lee, reunited here as two of Prescott's assistants.
Audrey Hepburn's early ballet and dance training came in handy with making FUNNY FACE, her "Basal Metabolism" routine is spectacular (and she sings quite well too). Filmed on location in Paris, the entire movie definitely has the proper European Travelogue feel to it.
This 50th Anniversary Edition of 'Funny Face' features a brand-new High Definition transfer of the movie, some great new featurettes ("The Fashion Designer & His Muse", "Parisian Dreams"), plus the material from the previous DVD release ("Paramount in the '50s" featurette, a photo gallery and the trailer). Buy this now and enjoy for the rest of your life! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The Fashion Designer and His Muse
Paramount in the '50s - Retrospective Featurette