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 Hepbur... more »n 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. --Tom Keogh« less
"In 1957, Paramount produced a very enjoyable musical comedy called "Funny Face", directed by Stanley Donen, and to the music of George Gershwin, Adolph Deutsch, Roger Edens and Leonard Gershe. With a simple plot, the film begins in New York City within the offices of the major fashion magazine named "Quality". Its president, Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson), is determined to find a new way to promote the magazine. In a moment of inspiration, she comes up with the slogan "Think pink," and breaks into song praising the color pink and saying that everything (from women's clothing, soap, furniture, etc.) must be pink. Of course, she "wouldn't be caught dead" in it.Moving on to another magazine project, Maggie wants to find the perfect spot to photograph one of the magazine's models named Marion (Dovima, who was a major fashion model in the 1950's working closely with photographer Richard Avedon. This was her only film.). An assistant suggests that they go to a bookstore in Greenwich Village to create an intellectual atmosphere. Maggie, Marion, a host of Maggie's staff all in pink and the magazines head photographer, Dick Avery (Fred Astaire), force their way into a dingy, but quiet, bookstore along with all of their equipment. A store employee, Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn) protests the uninvited intrusion vehemently, but the "Quality" magazine army locks her out of the store to work undisturbed. After several hours, the "Quality" mob vacates, but the books and store are left in a shambles for Jo to clean up. Dick offers his help to clean the store, but Jo refuses. After Dick leaves, Jo proceeds to sing another wonderful song in the film, "How Long Has This Been Going On?"Maggie decides that "Quality" must find a real "Quality woman" to represent the magazine and it isn't Marion. When Dick develops the photos taken at the bookstore, Jo is in one of them. He suggests to Maggie that Jo could be the woman that they need, but Maggie has her doubts. To lure Jo to the "Quality" offices, they order a large number of books and want them delivered. Jo arrives hours later with a pile of books and is accosted by Maggie's staff who want to redress her in preparation for a photo shoot. Jo escapes and hides in Dick's dark room. They talk and he sings to her another of the film's title song, "Funny Face". Jo completely disagrees with everything that "Quality" magazine represents; she believes in "empathicalism", a philosophy that rejects all material things, as described by her idol, Professor Emile Flostre, who lives in Paris. When Jo is told that the "Quality woman" photo shoot and a fashion show will be done in Paris, she reluctantly agrees to be the model since it will give her the opportunity to meet Prof. Flostre.The film continues in Paris where Jo models many clothes designed by Givenchy and a romance between her and Dick Avery develops. Jo finally gets the opportunity to meet Prof. Flostre (Michel Auclair), but will he meet Jo's expectations? Will the romance between Jo and Dick survive the photo shoot and meeting Prof. Flostre? Does Maggie get to produce the Paris fashion show of your dreams? You'll just have to watch this very entertaining film to find out!The songs in the film include:* "Think Pink" 5/5, Kay Thompson. A fast, snappy & whimsical song.
* "How Long Has This Been Going On?" 5/5, A blues song sung by Audrey Hepburn at the bookstore.
* "Funny Face" 5/5, Fred Astaire. A charming song.
* "Bonjour Paris" 5/5, Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, Kay Thompson. A fun song filmed at various locations in Paris.
* "He Loves and She Loves" 4.5/5 Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astair. Filmed at Le Château de la Reine Blanche in Coye-la-Forêt with Audrey Hepburn modeling a wedding dress.
* "How To Be Lovely" 5/5, Kay Thompson and Audrey Hepburn. A fun & gutsy song.
* "Basal Metabolism" 4.5/5, A blues song that Audrey Hepburn dances to in a bistro.
* "Clap Yo' Hands" 5/5, A fun, melodramatic blues song sung by Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson to sneak into the bistro. (a.k.a. "Ring-a Them Bells")
* "Let's Kiss and Make Up" 4.5/5 Fred Astaire. A love song sung again at Le Château de la Reine Blanche.
* "'S Wonderful" 5/5, Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Another love song sung at Le Château de la Reine Blanche.Some may think that "Funny Face" is nothing more than fluff, but it was produced to entertain with color, fashion, music, dance and comedy and it does so very well. The acting, singing and dancing from Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson is quite good and I rate "Funny Face" with 5 out of 5 stars. If you're primarily interested in Oscar-winning dramas, "Funny Face" may disappoint you; but if you enjoy light-hearted musicals and like to laugh, then you'll probably be very entertained with this fun film!"
"Let's give 'em the old bizzazz!"
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 08/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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 will feature 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)."
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 08/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Audrey Hepburn does indeed fill the air with smiles in Stanley Donen's exquisite and happy film about a shy book clerk in New York who is transformed into the toast of the Paris fashion world. George and Ira Gershwin wrote some of their best songs for the film and a few additional numbers were contributed by Roger Edens and Leonard Gershe, who also wrote the delightful story. The premise is quite frivilous but the execution glorious and joyful and it is easy to see why this was Audrey's favorite among all her films.
Fred Astaire is winning as fashion photographer Dick Avery and Kay Thompson is marvelous as Miss Prescott, the one-track mind owner of Quality Magazine he works for. Hepburn is adorable as the shy New York bookstore clerk, Jo Stockton. They bully her into letting them do a photo shoot, making a mess off things for her to clean up. From the moment Donen's camera catches her sliding on the ladder in panic we are in love and we know it won't be long before Jo and Dick are also.
Jo is a shy intellectual, mad about empathicalism, a screwy philosophy endorsed by Professor Emile Flustre (Michel Auclair) who, of course, lives in Paris. Once Dick displays his own brand of empathy by kissing Jo while they are cleaning up, he gets an idea for a new layout and the seed of love is planted in Jo's heart. Donen captures Hepburn's child-like yet feminine grace like no one else ever has and her wistful and waif-like beauty has never been seen to better advantage than in Funny Face.
Making Jo the face for Quality magazine may not be such an easy task, however, as it goes against everything she believes. Being chased by Miss Prescott's minions, Jo ducks into Dick's darkroom, where she and Dick share a lovely song and dance moment to the title-tune, Funny Face. Once Jo discovers it will all lead to Paris, where she can meet the great empathicalist, Emile, she gives the green light and the fun really begins.
Stanley Donen staged every song himself, and it shows. That moment that nearly always exists in every musical, even the great ones, when we are tempted to fast-forward and get on with the story, simply does not exist here. Every number is lively and imaginative, easily holding our interest. None of the numbers is more joyful or fun than the one when they first arrive in Paris and become typical tourists. Ray June's photography shows off the beautiful City of Lights and the funny and happy face of Audrey Hepburn in wonderful fashion.
It is like watching a great chef make the sweetest and most delicious of pastries as Dick takes Jo through one great shoot after another all over Paris, transforming the cocoon into a butterfly. The two share a lovely song sequence in a garden with a brook outside a church, when Jo finally tells Dick she is in love with him. Hepburn in a white wedding gown is as elegant and graceful as the doves and swans surrounding them.
There are some fun complications involving Jo's idol Emile, of course, who Dick knows is more man than philosopher. A fun and frantic ending caps a film that is a sheer delight from beginning to end. Astaire was somewhat older than Hepburn and it seems to work in the film's favor, as you could see where the innocent Jo would need a more worldly man to appreciate her charms rather than take advantage of them.
This is a wonderful confection from Stanley Donen, who would work with Audrey once again in another classic, Charade. The little girl from Holland who aided the Dutch resistence during WWII grew into one of the most lovely and luminous stars ever to grace a movie screen. She is gone now and Funny Face is a wonderful way to remember her......"
The Centennial Collection of "Funny Face" is the definitive
Dennis A. Amith (kndy) | California | 01/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Think Pink! S'wonderful! Songs that are among the many wonderful memories from the classic love story and popular 1957 musical "Funny Face" starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Kay Thompson featuring memorable Gershwin songs, exciting choreography, beautiful fashion and beautiful scenes shot in Paris. "Funny Face" was not just a regular musical of that time, it was a special film that highlights the style of an era and of course, another stunning fashion collaboration between Audrey Hepburn and her designer Hubert de Givenchy. And also bringing together two top tier music talents such as Astaire and Thomas, all three in one film is just fantastic!
The film starts off with publisher and editor of Quality Magazine, Maggie Prescott (Thompson), looking for a new fashion trend. A woman that exhibits beauty and intellect and both Prescott and fashion photographer, Dick Avery (Astaire) decide to look for this woman who can "think as well as they look". So, the two along with the magazine staff visit a bookstore (Embryo Concepts) in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, they meet Jo Stockton, a shy bookstore clerk who also has a passion for philosophy.
Prescott tries to convince Stockton to consider becoming a model for the magazine but she does not want any part of it. But Prescott, quite persistent in having Stockton become this new face, tricks her to bringing books to the offices of Quality Magazine. As Stockton tries to hide from staff, she hides in the film developing room where Dick Avery is working. Having known that Stockton's dream is to go to Paris and attend a lecture of renown philosopher, Professor Emil Flostre, Avery convinces her that by becoming a model for Quality Magazine will eventually bring her to Paris and attending the lecture of her favorite philosopher.
So, off to Paris they go and as Dick and Jo spend time together, they eventually start to fall in love. As Jo is being prepared for the Gala to introduce her as the new fashion trend for Quality Magazine, she gets caught up in a lecture for her favorite philosopher, Emil Flostre that she forgets to attend the Gala. Thus Dick goes to look for her and causing a scene that embarrasses her in front of Flostre. But it seems that all is lost. Quality Magazine may not have their model. Dick may have lost the special woman in his life and as for Jo, she may have lost the one person that she truly loves.
"Funny Face" is a classic from it's first song sung with Kay Thompson belting out "Think Pink" to the three talents singing in Paris, Audrey Hepburn's dance at a bar (which many have seen through a recent GAP commercial), to Astaire's talents as a vocalist and dancer and Gershwin songs such as "S'Wonderful", "How Long Has This Been Going On" and "He Loves and She Loves" but for film-goers at the time, it was a film that utilized the VistaVision technology (a higher resolution and widescreen technology developed by Paramount in 1954 and an older technology that continues to be used today) and a film that featured the beauty of Paris. Talented actors, beautiful outfits, beautiful music taking place in a beautiful city, there's nothing funny about "Funny Face", the film is just overall... Beautiful!
VIDEO & AUDIO:
The film is presented in widescreen format, enhanced for 16:9 TV's. A lot of the Centennial Collection releases have been remastered for high definition and having the previous DVD's, I can tell you that the DVD looks great. The shots of Paris from yesteryear to the dreamlike scenes between Astaire and Hepburn as they dance to Thompson's "Think Pink" and white and pink just stands out. There are just many of these classic scenes that the remastered video make the film come alive. But I can only imagine how this film would look in 1080P if released in Blu-ray.
Audio is featured in Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround/English, Restored Mono, French Mono and Spanish Mono. The film of course is dialogue-driven but for those who love those Gershwin classics, they do come alive for this film courtesy of the Dolby Digital 5.1 track.
Similar to the three previous "Centennial Collections" from Paramount, the special features are all on disc 2. Because "Funny Face" was released in 2007 as a DVD, some of the special features from that disc can be found on this Centennial Collection but there are a few new features included as well.
* Kay Thompson: "Think Pink" - Kaye Thompson who played Maggie Prescott was a woman who was known for her quick wit, her sharp tongue and multi-talented. Her friends and people she worked with take part in this near-27 minute featurette in which they talk about her past, her work in "Funny Face", the memories they had working with her but also her contributions as an author with her popular books series "Eloise". It was a great featurette to have included on this DVD. * This is VistaVision - A 25-minute featurette about the history of the VistaVision technology, the films that used it and the films that continue to use it today. A very interesting featurette especially for those who are interested in learning more about another technology outside of Anamorphic CinemaScope and the beginning of hi-res Widescreen film. * Fashion Photographers Exposed - A 18-minute featurette about fashion photographers and how "Funny Face" inspired many of them but also giving us an idea of the life of a fashion photographer and how the work of a fashion photographer in reality differs from Dick Avery's character from the film and all the staff involved with working with a fashion photographer. * The Fashion Designer & His Muse - An eight minute featurette (that was included in the original 2007 DVD release) about Audrey Hepburn and her designer Hubert de Givenchy. * Parisian Dreams - An eight minute featurette about "Funny Face", a love story set in Paris and how Paris enhances a love story. Originally included in the original 2007 DVD release. * Paramount in the 50's - Retrospective Featurette - A near ten minute featurette on Paramount and it's popular films in the 1950's, featured in various Paramount releases. * Galleries - Featuring production stills, movie stills and publicity shots for the film.
The Centennial Collection also comes with a booklet that features information of facts of the film which include how the film differs from the 1927 Broadway musical that starred Fred Astaire and sister Adele. Also, the collaboration of screenplay writer Leonard Gershe and collaborating with real-life fashion photographer Richard Avedon and much more!
And the DVD is just classy with it's black and gold packaging (which most of the Centennial Collection are packaged) and ditching the pink and white packaging.
If there is one thing about "Funny Face", I could imagine how the film captured the attention of viewers with its stylish presentation of the fashion but also using the city of Paris and it's iconic monuments and the beauty of the city portrayed in color in this film.
Also, to have talent such as Audrey Hepburn (singing and dancing) and how she would only do the film if Fred Astaire and of course, having Kay Thompson in a rare film appearance all together is just amazing. From the classic opening scene of "Think Pink", to the moment when each person arrives in Paris and you get a beautiful look at the architecture and scenery and the choreography of Audrey Hepburn as she unwinds and starts to dance in the red-dimmed bar and many more scenes that are just enjoyable to watch.
There are just so many of these classic moments on "Funny Face" and it's not just the music scenes, there are just beautiful scenes such as Audrey Hepburn in a wedding dress, and the multiple modeling photo shoots featuring Avery and Stockton such as the scene where Stockton wears an elegant red dress and walks down the steps asking Avery to take a picture while he tells her to stop and she keeps saying "I can't Stop, take the picture" and saying it with a smile. And then with each photo shoot, the photography stills are showcased in various versions. May it be in full color, grayscale and then a combination of both. These things may seem common place today especially in color correction years of PhotoShop but back then, a lot of these visual images back in 1957 were new, fresh and unique.
And of course, the age difference between Astaire and Hepburn really doesn't matter in this film. Astaire is just full of life and he can move and dance much fluidly than many youngsters, so to have these two talents come together, it's no surprise that Hepburn feeds of his energy. Their chemistry work in each musical number and also when their characters are together. And as much as I love "Roman Holiday", "Sabrina" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Funny Face" is one of those films that shows you the pure charm and the versatility of Hepburn as an actress.
Now, you may be a person who owns a prior DVD release of "Funny Face" (and other Audrey Hepburn films on DVD) and wonder if this DVD is worth upgrading to. I can tell you right now that these Centennial Collections are the definitive versions to buy on DVD. Remastered, in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and even more special features than their previous DVD incarnations, these Centennial Collection releases are just beautiful to watch, to hear and enjoy.
This DVD is highly recommended!"
LOVE THE MOVIE BUT THIS 50TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE IS A DISAPPOI
Piccolo | Las Vegas | 10/12/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The movie is wonderful! And I have the first DVD that came out. When I saw there was a 50th Anniversary Edition I was thrilled, hoping, or let's say, expecting to have extra features as many 'anniversary editions' often offer. So I ordered the DVD sight unseen before its release. That was a mistake! The extras are boring and the featurette of Paramount can be found on other DVDs. A pity - they had a chance to honor the work of Kay Thompson, the work of Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, even some commentaries on the making of the film, information on photographer Richard Avedon....too bad."