"FUNNY FACE: CENTENNIAL COLLECTION"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5 stars)
Audrey Hepburn as JO STOCKTON
Fred Astaire as DICK AVERY
Kay Thompson as MAGGIE PRESCOTT
Michel Auclair as PROF. EMILE FLOSTRE
Robert Flemyng as PAUL DUVAL
Directed by: Stanley Donen
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Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson), the editor of the fashion magazine “Quality” is searching for a new look. Prescott is suddenly inspired by the color pink and searches for the average woman to represent the new “Quality” look to the readership. Her top photographer Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) discovers a diamond-in-the-rough beauty named Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn) in a local book shop and champions her as the new “Quality” girl.
Jo accompanies Dick and Ms. Prescott to Paris, where she is to help launch their fashion line. However, when Jo follows her own interests of philosophy and bohemian culture, she clashes with her new job as a fashion model.
WHAT I LIKED
Of all the Audrey Hepburn films I have seen of late, this is easily my favorite one. There is a light-heartedness about this that supercedes the fluffy romance of “Roman Holiday” and the socialite life wannabe nature of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Of her iconic films, Hepburn shines the most in “Funny Face” by focusing on what makes her beautiful.
This film is basically a musical, although it only borrows partially from the original Broadway show. Like most of the musicals of the 50s, the singing and dancing numbers are meant as show pieces rather than elements of the plot, and I accept that. Fred Astaire shines as the possibly too old love interest for Hepburn, but there is no denying that they have chemistry.
And, I have to admit... I was enthralled with Hepburn’s bohemian dance in the middle of the film. It was nice to see her put her dance training to use in the movies and actually cut loose for as clean-cut as her image is.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The problem with the musicals of the 50s is that there wasn’t a whole lot of story to tell when there were so many songs to sing. There’s really only about 45 minutes of plot in “Funny Face,” with the rest padded out with songs. And, sure, the character of Jo Stockton was a bit overly naive even for this film. But all this is forgivable for a cute, fluffy flick like this.
As the other installments in Paramount’s Centennial Collection present, “Funny Face” comes with a second disc packed with special features. The focus is surprisingly not on Hepburn in these features, but rather on Kay Thompson, who gets her own spotlight as a film icon (as well as the best-selling author of the “Eloise” books).
Since “Funny Face” was presented in VistaVision, this large format is examined in the “This Is VistaVision” featurette. There’s also two featurettes examining the world of fashion photographers and fashion designers. Because a bulk of the film took place in Paris, the “Parisian Dreams” featurette highlights the city, and with this movie being a famous flick from the 50s, there’s a featurette called “Paramount in the ‘50s.”
The DVD special features are rounded out with the original theatrical trailer and photo galleries.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Audrey Hepburn aficionados, movie musical buffs, Fred Astaire fans and people who love the world of fashion.